FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 51 University of Arkansas women’s tennis team begins its spring seasonhosting a doubleheader against Wichita State on Sunday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
Coming off a promising fall season, the Razorbacks look to test themselves right out of the gate this spring, hosting a WSU program that has won five straight Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
"It’s exciting for us to begin the spring season hosting a quality opponent like Wichita State," head coach Michael Hegarty said. "They are a perennial NCAA tournament team and so we will test our team early and discover some things that will help us navigate our great non-conference matches."
Arkansas is led byreturning ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year,Yang Pang, who begins the season ranked No. 9 in the ITA Central Region Singles Rankingsand also at No. 2 in the ITA Central Region Doubles Rankingswith teammate Kimberley – Ann Surin. Last season, Pang became just the second Razorback ever toearn ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year honors, while also being named to both the 2013 First Team All-SEC and All-SEC Rookie Team.
Pang/Surinrank No. 46 in the ITANational DoublesRankings, while Pang is No. 71 in the ITA National Singles Rankings.The two had a remarkable run at the 2013 USTA/ITA Central Regional Championshipthis pastfall season,finishing runner-up in the doubles final. The two Razorbacks combined for a 5-1 record on the weekend, including five straight wins in one day to reach the tournament final.
The Shockers have a pair of ranked doubles teams themselves, as Abby Stevens and Julia Schiller begin the season ranked No. 7, while Montse Biasco Fernandez and Rebecca Pedrazzi check in at No. 9 in the ITA Central Region rankings.
Ranked No. 13 in the ITA Central Region Rankings, Shannon Hudsonwill be another nameto watch for the Razorbacks this spring. The freshmanrecorded a7-2 record in singles during the fall, and as a result, will also begin the season ranked No. 115 in the ITA National Singles Rankings.The Virginia Beach, Va., entered the Arkansas program ranked No. 18 in the tennis recruiting class of 2013.
Sunday’s matches features a shortened format that the NCAA is considering implementing full time into college tennis. The doubles point will be first team to six with a tiebreaker at 6-all (regular format is first to 8). The six singles matches will then by played. They are best of three sets with a tiebreaker at 6-all. However, the third set will be a 10-point tiebreaker (regular format is a full set). The dual match is still first to four team points with the three doubles matches still counting for one team point.
In thefirst match of the doubleheader, the teams will play singles first and only play doubles if the match is tied at 3-all.
First serveof theday isset for 10 a.m. with the second match scheduled to follow at approximately 2 p.m.
For more information on Arkansas women’s tennis, follow @RazorbackWTEN on Twitter.