Women's Tennis Looks To Extend Three-Match Win Streak

The Boilermakers hold a record of 10-7 and 5-1 in the Big Ten.

April 16, 1998

The Purdue women's tennis team hopes to continue its three-match win streak this weekend when it plays at Ohio State and Indiana on April 18 and 19, respectively. The 49th-ranked Boilermakers hold a record of 10-7 (5-1 Big Ten), including a recent 7-0 victory over Penn State at home on April 12. The win over the Nitany Lions marked Purdue's 10th victory in its last 14 matches. The Boilers are tied for first place in the conference with 19th-ranked Wisconsin and 47th-ranked Minnesota.

Purdue's tough non-conference schedule this season has been a major factor in the Boilers' success in the Big Ten conference. Purdue played against seven top 25 teams to date. "It definitely made a big difference in getting us ready for the difficulty that lies in the Big Ten conference matches," says Purdue coach Mat Iandolo.

Another factor in the Boilers' success has been the recent performances of sophomore Jennifer Embry. Embry hit a dry spell in the middle of the season but has come back to capture four consecutive wins. "She's just very confident right now in how she's playing," says Iandolo. "She's been able to get off to a good start in her matches, which has allowed her to play even more confidently." Ohio State posts a record of 7-9 (1-4 Big Ten).

The Buckeyes recently sufferred a 5-2 loss at Wisconsin. No. 1 singles player Kristy Dascoli and the No. 1 doubles pair of Dascoli and Brianna Harris currently holds a record of 16-2 and 11-7, respectively. "They present very difficult matchups at No. 1 and 2 singles and at No. 1 doubles," says Iandolo. "While they have struggled this year, they have been very successful at these positions. We're going to have to play well at all of the other positions in order to take advantage of our edge in this match. Our edge is definitely our depth."

The 50th-ranked Hoosiers post a record of 10-8 (4-3 Big Ten). Indiana is coming off a 4-3 loss to Northwestern, and will face Illinois before its match against Purdue on Sunday. The Hoosier match will feature a battle of the unbeatens in the No. 5 slot. Boilermaker freshman Lisa Walgenbach is undefeated in the Big Ten at 6-0, while Indiana's Jessica Anderson is 7-0 in the conference. Walgenbach's success is no surprise to her coach.

"Lisa is a very athletic player who has a wide variety in her game style," says Iandolo. "She had great experiences throughout her junior career, playing at very high national levels." Another interesting matchup features the 23rd-ranked duo of Embry and senior Mary Beth Maggart squaring off against the Hoosier's 30th-ranked Kelly Blanch and Correne Stout in the No. 1 doubles position. Indiana's Zahra Ahamed and Megan McCarney will also pose a threat in the No. 2 doubles position. Ahamed and McCarney are undefeated in the Big Ten at 5-0.

"Indiana is the most talented team in the league, along with having the most depth of any team in the league and some very solid leadership," says Iandolo. "They are a very scary opponent because while they struggled in some Big Ten matches, they are on any given day the most talented team in the league as was proven by their win over Wisconsin, who was the No. 1 team in the league last weekend." The Boilers hit the courts at 11 a.m. against the Buckeyes and 10 a.m. against the Hoosiers. Following these two matches, Purdue will close out the regular sesaon with home matches against Iowa (April 25) and Minnesota (April 26). The Big Ten season concludes with the conference tournament to be held April 30-May 3 in Madison, Wisconsin.