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PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Hala Sufi is ranked 74th in the latest ITA poll.
Hala Sufi is ranked 74th in the latest ITA poll.

March 25, 2005

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's tennis team looks to put an end to a streak of six straight losses this weekend when it plays host to Big Ten rivals Indiana and Penn State. The Boilermakers last won at home on Feb. 11, when they upset No. 19 Texas A&M 4-3.

Purdue, ranked 61st in the March 22 ITA poll, will bring a 2-8 record (0-1 Big Ten) to the courts against the Hoosiers. Indiana, currently ranked 43rd, holds a 7-7 overall record and is 1-0 in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers, last year's Big Ten runners-up, are coming off a 6-1 loss to UNLV on March 17. They have lost two of their last three heading into their weekend matches at Purdue and Illinois. Indiana leads the all-time series with Purdue 46-2.

Purdue assistant coach Chris Karges-Iandolo expects a highly intense match against the Hoosiers.

"IU is a big rival for us," Karges-Iandolo says. "They are a competitive team, and it will be a very competitive match. We will have to play very aggressive."

The Lady Lions are 5-5 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten prior to taking on Illinois on March 26. Penn State, which went 0-10 in the Big Ten a season ago, most recently posted a 7-0 victory over Lehigh on March 18. The Lady Lions have not won a Big Ten regular-season match since March 28, 2003. Purdue leads the all-time series with Penn State 11-5.

"We've had a lot success against Penn State in the past," Karges-Iandolo says. "We need to build on that success and take advantage of it."

Leading the Boilermakers is sophomore Hala Sufi and senior Amy Walgenbach. Sufi, ranked 74th in the latest ITA poll, will be the only ranked player competing in Lafayette this weekend. Walgenbach, meanwhile, has won four straight matches. The senior's win streak began at the No. 5 spot against Illinois, and continued with three wins at No. 6 against TCU, California and Notre Dame.

With eight of their next 11 upcoming matches scheduled to be played in Lafayette or West Lafayette, the Boilermakers are hoping to capitalize on their home-court advantage.

"We have a good stretch of teams coming up at home," Karges-Iandolo says. "We are looking to play and compete hard and get a stretch of W's. The tough competition we have had so far has prepared us for the Big Ten season. We're ready to make it happen."

The Purdue-Indiana match is slated to start at 1 p.m. The Purdue-Penn State match will begin at 11 a.m. Both contests will be played at the Lafayette Sports Center.

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