Women's Tennis to Host Michigan and Michigan State

Boilermakers are 3-5 overall and ranked 41st in the nation.

March 20, 1998

Much is at stake as the Big Ten tennis season resumes with the Purdue women hosting Michigan and Michigan State on March 21 and March 22, respectively. The Boilermakers have split their conference matches to date, with a win over 22nd-ranked Northwestern and a loss to No. 25 Wisconsin. Purdue is 3-5 overall and ranked 41st in the nation.

"The matches this weekend mean a lot in terms of putting us in position to solidify a spot in the top of the Big Ten," says Purdue coach Mat Iandolo. "Going 2-0 would take us a long way toward reaching our goal of getting a top-three seed in the conference tournament."

Michigan is the defending Big Ten champion. The Wolverines carry in a ranking of 28th and a record of 4-4 (1-0 Big Ten). Despite their high ranking, the Wolverines are still trying to recover from the loss of four-time All-Big Ten honoree and two-time Big Ten Player-of-the-Year Sarah Cyganiak, their No. 1 player a year ago. Filling those shoes is Brooke Hart, who owns a 5-3 record at the top singles position. Danielle Lund and Erynn Weggenman are both 6-2 at the No. 2 and No. 4 spots, respectively.

Michigan State brings an impressive 8-2 overall record (0-1 Big Ten) to West Lafayette. The Spartans finished in last place in the 1997 Big Ten standings and dropped their first conference match to the Wolverines (5-2) on Feb. 15. Their strength is the bottom half of their lineup, with their Nos. 3-6 players owning a collective 33-5 record. Purdue will use its talent and experience to challenge both Michigan and Michigan State.

The Boilers will rely on senior Mary Beth Maggart, sophomore Jennifer Embry and freshman Erika Quebe for point production. Maggart looks to stop a two-match losing skid and recover from a sprained ankle, while Embry attempts to capitalize on the momentum from a straight-set victory over Pepperdine's Zsofia Csapo, the 33rd-ranked player in the nation. Quebe is 4-3 at the No. 3 position.

The 'X' factor, however, may be the lower half of Purdue's lineup. Wins from sophomore Shannon Taheny, freshman Lisa Walgenbach and senior Hally Cohen could prove instrumental as they did in the 4-3 upset over Northwestern.

Though Michigan is the hunted for everyone this season, including Purdue, the Boilermakers must make sure they don't look past the capable Spartans.

"Although Michigan is ranked 28th in the nation," says Iandolo, "it is very important that we don't have a letdown against Michigan State, as they are a very competitive team."

Both matches will be played at 11 a.m. on their respective dates at the Lafayette Sports Center.