April 10, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 37 Purdue women's tennis team is set to take its four-match winning streak on the road, facing Penn State Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET from the Sarni Tennis Center in University Park, Pa., followed by a battle at No. 49 Ohio State Sunday. First serves from the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio, are scheduled for 12 p.m.
With just two weeks of regular season action remaining, the 9-7 Boilermakers are tied for third with Minnesota in the Big Ten standings with 5-2 marks. No. 14 Michigan is on top at 7-0 and No. 12 Northwestern is second at 6-1. The Buckeyes (14-7, 4-3 Big Ten) are in a three-way tie for fifth and Penn State (5-14, 1-6 Big Ten) is tied for 10th with Iowa.
Purdue has stared adversity in the face and found a way to win after losing its top-two players, Lynda Xepoleas and Daniela Vidal, to season-ending injuries. The Boilermakers have taken down four consecutive Big Ten opponents for their longest winning streak of the season.
A trio of players has registered 10-or more wins in singles play, led by a dozen from Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum. The sophomore took on the role at No. 2 for the first time this season against Iowa and Nebraska and prevailed in both matches. She owns a record of 12-5 and is undefeated in league play at 7-0. Freshman Andjela Djokovic sports a record of 11-4 while playing at Nos. 5 and 6 and sophomore Krisztina Kapitanyis 11-6 at Nos. 4 and 5.
Claudia Escribenshas stepped up by going 3-0 since entering the lineup at Minnesota on March 28. All three of her wins have come in straight sets and has only given up seven games to her opponents.
Although the doubles lineup has fluctuated during the four-match winning streak, including Mara Schmidt and Kapitany teaming up with Bernard-Feigenbaum and Natalia Davila, respectively, for the first time, Purdue has taken the point in each victory. Even though Schmidt and Kapitany didn't play together against Iowa or Nebraska, the 10-5 duo jumped from No. 70 to 50 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's rankings released Tuesday. Eleven different doubles combinations have gone out on the courts this season, to which they have won the point nine times. The Boilermakers are 7-2 when claiming doubles and are unbeaten in Big Ten play (5-0) when doing so.
Penn State enters Friday's match after a 1-1 outing last weekend. The Nittany Lions snapped a six-match losing skid with a 4-3 win, they're only victory in conference action, over Wisconsin on April 4. They then lost by the same score to then-No. 55 Minnesota on April 6.
The all-time series against Penn State has been controlled by Purdue, 20-5. Last season in West Lafayette the Boilermakers shut the Nittany Lions out for the sixth time since the series began in 1992. In its last trip to University Park, No. 27 Purdue was upended by No. 46 Penn State, 4-3. It was the Nittany Lions' first win in the series in 19 years.
Ohio State will take on No. 41 Indiana Friday before the Boilermakers come to town. The Buckeyes have held two of their last three opponents scoreless and dealt Wisconsin a 6-1 setback during their current three-match winning streak. They are a perfect 10-0 when playing at home, including five shutout victories. Ohio State's lineup features the 75th-ranked freshman tandem of Ferny Angeles Paz and Miho Kowase. Fellow rookie Gabriella De Santis checks in at No. 83 in singles.
Purdue owns a two-match edge in the series, 24-22, and has won the last four contests against the Buckeyes. Ohio State's last win over the Boilermakers was a 4-3 decision on its home courts on March 13, 2009.