MAC Women's Tennis Weekend Preview

Updated 1/16/2014

Here is a preview to the start of the 2014 MAC Women's Tennis weekend action.

Tennis Opens Dual-Match Schedule with Weekend Road Trip
AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron women's tennis team begins the spring component of its 2013-14 schedule with a three-day, four-match road swing this week.  The Zips visit Robert Morris on Thursday at noon ET, travel to West Virginia on Friday at 1 p.m., and face off against Dayton and Wright State on Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.
"Four matches in three days will definitely be a test both physically and mentally," fourth-year UA head coach Brandon Padgett said. "We wanted to challenge this team right away, gauging how they manage a taxing situation such as this."
Akron, which went 18-10 overall (5-3 Mid-American Conference) last season and ended the year ranked eighth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Midwest region, looks to improve a 10-0 all-time series record versus Robert Morris and faces West Virginia for the first time since claiming a 7-0 road victory over the Mountaineers on Feb. 5, 2012. The Zips look for their second-consecutive season sweep of Dayton and Wright State, topping each during a same-day doubleheader last season. UD leads the all-time series with Akron 7-5, while WSU trails 20-6 and has lost three-straight to the Zips.
Padgett's 2013-14 squad is youthful as it features just two upperclassmen in senior Ksenia Berestetska and junior Olga Shkundina, to go with sophomores Madison Cohen and Martina Zerbola, and freshmen Marta Briega, Caroline Harpaintner, Karolina Maksimava and Shannon Newnes.
"We are happy about starting the season, and excited to see how our extremely young team handles itself," Padgett said.
On Jan. 25, UA travels to nearby Cleveland State for a 6 p.m. contest, and opens a three-match homestand on Jan. 31 versus UIC. On Feb. 2, the Zips take on ASA Community College from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Oakland at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. UA plays it's home indoor matches at LaTuchie Tennis Center in nearby Stow (driving directions).
Ball State:
Women's Tennis Opens 2014 Season At Home Friday
MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State women's tennis team opens the 2014 spring schedule Friday when it hosts Valparaiso and IUPUI at the Muncie YMCA Tennis Center beginning at 2 p.m.
Ball State will face Valparaiso in their first match playing three doubles and six singles matches.  In the night cap, the Cardinals will take on IUPUI at 7 p.m. with the same match format.
The Cardinals begin their 37th year of tennis at Ball State which began with the 1977-78 season.  Max Norris, who was an assistant women's tennis coach at Alabama, was named the fifth head coach in Ball State women's tennis history on Dec. 6, 2013.
Ball State returns six letterwinners from last season.  The Cardinals welcome back junior Courtney Wild who for the second straight season received First Team All-Mid-American Conference honors. Wild ended the season with 20-5 dual mark and a 6-4 league record.  She was also named to the All-MAC Tournament team.  Courtney Earnest will also return for the Cardinals after earning Second Team All-MAC accolades last year.  Earnest ended the season with a 19-6 dual record and went 6-2 in league play.
The Ball State women's tennis team will then play at Kentucky Saturday with first serve at 6 p.m. After that, the Cardinals return home to host another double-header Jan. 24 against Wright State (2 p.m.) and Oakland University (4 p.m.) in the Muncie YMCA Tennis Center.
Eastern Michigan:
Eastern Opens Spring Season With Three Road Matches
The EMU women's tennis team will head to Detroit before taking on Minnesota and Northern Iowa
YPSILANTI, Mich. - The Eastern Michigan University women's tennis team begins the championship season this Friday, Jan. 17, with a 8 p.m. match at the University of Detroit. Following that matchup the Eagles will head to Minneapolis, Minn. to square off with Big Ten foe the University of Minnesota, Jan. 19,  at noon before taking the court against the University of Northern Iowa Monday, Jan. 20, in Minneapolis at 10 a.m.
Eastern Michigan begins the spring season after a successful fall. Diana Daviataia (Tbilisi, Georgia-Cowley Community College) led EMU with six singles victories, while the duo of Ankita Bhatia (Gurgaon, India-Delhi Public Schools) and Mariya Toncheva (Burgas, Bulgaria-Sport School Vasil Levski) went 8-5 in doubles matches.
The Eagles are no stranger to facing their in-state rival, Detroit. The Green and White has seen Detroit on 11 occasions, winning each of them. Last season was an easy victory for Head Women's Tennis Coach Ryan Ray's squad. EMU topped the Titans, 5-2, after EMU took five-of-six singles matches. All but one of those wins came in two-set sweeps.
Eastern Michigan has struggled in dual matches with Minnesota in the past. The Eagles are 0-4 all-time versus the Golden Gophers, including their last meeting during the 2007-08 season. The Eagles dropped a 6-1 decision, Feb. 17, 2008, to then-No. 54-ranked squad from Minneapolis. EMU, however, is no stranger to the UM campus, as it competed in the Gopher Invitational during the 2013 fall season.
Finally when the Eagles see Northern Iowa on the court, it will be the third-ever meeting between the two schools in dual matches. Eastern holds a 2-0 edge in the all-time series.  EMU topped UNI during the 2001-02 season in a 6-1 victory, before again besting the Panthers in a tightly-contested 4-3 decision in Lincoln, Neb. In that Feb. 13, 2011 match with Northern Iowa, then-freshman and current senior Nino Mebuke (Tbilisi, Georgia-English-Spanish School) recorded one of the four EMU wins in a 6-2, 6-2 sweep of UNI's Laia Gonzalez.
Tennis Returns for Play in Purdue Invite 
OXFORD, Ohio – Kicking off their 2014 season, the Miami University women’s tennis team will travel to West Lafayette, Ind. to compete Friday through Sunday in the Purdue Invitational. The RedHawks will match up against 27th ranked Purdue, 70th ranked Louisville and Kansas.  
Miami competed in four meets during the fall portion of their 2013-14 schedule, racking up a sound 58-26 singles record during that span while going 14-18 in doubles play.
Miami hosts Xavier next weekend when the two teams meet on Jan. 26 at the Riverside Athletic Club in Hamilton, Ohio.
Purdue Invitational Schedule
Friday, Jan. 17
9 a.m. Purdue vs. Miami / Kansas vs. Louisville (doubles)
10 a.m. Purdue vs. Kansas / Miami vs. Louisville (doubles)
12 p.m. Purdue vs. Louisville (singles)
3 p.m. Kansas vs. Miami (singles)
Saturday, Jan. 18
9 a.m. Purdue vs. Louisville / Kansas vs. Miami (doubles)
10 a.m. Purdue vs. Kansas (singles)
12 p.m. Miami vs. Louisville (singles)
3 p.m. Purdue vs. Miami (singles)
5 p.m. Kansas vs. Louisville (singles)
Sunday, Jan. 19
9 a.m. Kansas vs. Miami (singles)
12 p.m. Purdue vs. Louisville (singles)
Toledo Women’s Tennis to Open 2014 Schedule with Two Weekend Road Matches
TOLEDO, OH – The University of Toledo women’s tennis team begins its 2014 season on Friday, Jan. 17 for a match at Cincinnati before traveling to East Lansing, MI on Sunday to face off against Michigan State.
The Cincinnati match is set to begin at 2:00 p.m., and the match against the Spartans commences at 11:00 a.m.
Toledo’s 2014 schedule consists of nine home matches, including five of eight Mid-American Conference contests taking place in the Glass City. The team will also travel to Palmas del Mar, Puerto Rico for two matches over spring break to face Presbyterian and Long Island University.
MAC play will begin on Friday, March 21 when the Rockets travel to Akron. On Friday, March 28, UT opens up home conference play with a match against Bowling Green. The MAC Championships will be hosted by Miami in Oxford, OH beginning on Friday, April 25.
The Rockets enter the 2014 schedule, following four tournaments in the fall, including the Rocket Invitational in September, which saw four flight winners and an undefeated 3-0 record as a team.
Senior Chrissy Coffman (Akron, OH) was crowned the No. 4 singles champion and also teamed up with sophomore Mackenzie Bowman (Bothell, WA) to claim the win in No. 3 doubles. Bowman also added a singles victory in Flight 5, while sophomore Emily Mazzola (Chagrin Falls, OH) added a No. 3 singles title.
Coffman closed the fall schedule with a 12-1 singles record, claiming singles titles at both the BGSU Invite and Spartan Invitational. She also added a second doubles championship with Bowman at the Spartan Invitational as the duo won all five of its fall matchups.
Sophomore Katelyn Nguyen (Anaheim, CA), Mazzola and Bowman each added third-place finishes in singles play at the BGSU Invite in Flight 1, Flight 2 and Flight 4, respectively.  Mazzola also finished third with junior Pia Rygh (Oslo, Norway) in No. 1 doubles.
Following this weekend’s matches, the Rockets will have a string of four consecutive home matches beginning on Friday, Jan. 24 against Duquesne. The match is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. at Shadow Valley Tennis Club.
Western Michigan:
Broncos start season with two road matches; Sujashvili Selected As Women's Tennis Captain
The Western Michigan Broncos women's tennis team will open the 2014 season with two road matches this weekend.  Western Michigan will visit Notre Dame on Saturday, Jan. 18 at Noon ET and Valparaiso on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 6:00 pm ET.
Western Michigan women's tennis team announced that senior Nini Sujashvili has been selected as the Broncos' captain for the 2014 season.  
A two-time All-MAC and Academic All-MAC performer, Sujashvili has recorded 102 total wins in her first three years with the Broncos, including a 25-25 record at the No. 1 singles position over the last two years.  Sujashvili also boasted a 16-9 record in dual match doubles last season, including a 7-1 record against MAC opposition in the regular season that was best on the team.
"Nini is excels both on and off the court, which makes her richly deserving of this honor," said WMU head coach Betsy Kuhle.  "As a player who's both an All-MAC performer and an Academic All-MAC selection, she is respected by her teammates and coaches alike.  We're sure she will continue to represent what it means to be a Bronco this season.
Sujashvili enters the spring schedule with a 14-16 overall record, including a 6-8 record in singles and an 8-8 record in doubles play.  She went undefeated in singles play in the Broncos' final fall tournament of the year, defeating opponents from Louisville, Notre Dame, and Indiana at the WMU Super Challenge.  A versatile doubles player, Sujashvili teamed with Kathleen Hawkins to win two of three doubles matches at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic, teamed with Tracy Kuhle to win two doubles matches at the Hoosier Fall Classic, and won two of her three doubles matches at the Green & White Invitational playing with Meika Ashby and Caroline Aleck.