WSU Tennis Takes on Three Nationally-Ranked Teams in California

March 23, 2010

PULLMAN, Wash. --

This Week: The Cougars hit the road to California again, this time to take on No. 36 Long Beach State, March 25 and Pacific 10 foes No. 5 UCLA and No. 21 University of Southern California, March 26-27. The Cougars are 8-7 and 1-1 in Pac-10 play. WSU fell out of the national rankings after two losses last week.

About the 49ers: Long Beach State moved up in the latest ITA poll, from No. 53 to No. 36, after defeating their second straight ranked opponent, No. 42 Nebraska, March 19. The 49ers will look to continue their six match win-streak against the Cougars on Thursday. Long Beach State is 12-2 this season, with their two losses coming from Pac-10 schools, No. 21 USC and No. 19 Washington.

About the Bruins: UCLA (14-2 overall) is ranked fifth in the nation currently and boasts four nationally-ranked players, including No.4 Yasmin Schnack. The Bruins lost their second match of the season last week to No. 9 Baylor. UCLA lost in the round of 16 at last year's NCAA Tournament, after winning a national championship in 2008.

About the Trojans: USC is currently ranked No. 21 in the nation, with a record of 9-6. Four Trojans are nationally ranked, with junior Maria Sanchez leading the team at third in the nation. USC defeated Fresno State last week to stop a two-match losing skid. The Trojans have made 18 consecutive appearances at the NCAA Championships.

Sweeping Up the Competition: The Cougar tennis team's 6-1 upset over No. 39 Arizona is not only the highest ranked team WSU has beaten since beating 34th-ranked Washington in 2008, but it is the first time since the 1997-98 season that the Cougs have swept the singles in a Pac-10 conference match. WSU swept the singles against Oregon on March 29, 1998 and won the match 6-0. The Cougars also made the NCAA Tournament that year, but lost to No. 30 UNLV in the first round.

Last Season: The Cougars faced a tough schedule and finished with an 8-18 overall record. WSU played 16 nationally-ranked opponents, including eight ranked Pac-10 foes.

Coach Hart: Washington State's Lisa Hart is in her seventh season as head coach. Hart's overall record as a Cougar is 74-87.

Vasilieva Earns National Ranking: Freshman Liudmila Vasilieva earned a No. 75 national ranking in the latest ITA poll. The ranking is the highest on the team since Eka Burduli was ranked 57th in 2008. Vasilieva is 10-5 in the No. 1 singles spot this spring. Vasilieva beat her third nationally-ranked player this season when she defeated Arizona's No. 89 Natasha Marks.

Leading the Team: Sophomore Elisabeth Fournier leads the team with 14 wins this spring. Fournier's quest for the all-time consecutive singles win record was stopped short by Micaela Hein of ASU. Fournier's eleven consecutive wins tied her for third on the all-time consecutive singles victories list. The longest win-streak record is held by Marcia Senn, who won 13 in a row from Feb. 19 to March 25, 1994.

Strong Start for the Cougs: Freshman Andjela Kankaras has the second-best team record at 12-3. Fellow freshmen Ksenia Googe and Liudmila Vasilieva also boast double digit wins this spring with 10 each.

Chasing Records: Both Vasilieva and Fournier are well within reach of making the all-time singles season victory list. Twenty-three wins on the season will put either player into the top ten. Fournier currently has 22 wins and Vasilieva has 20. The all-time record for victories in one season is 28, held by Erin Majury and set in the 1983 season.

Freshmen First Impressions: The six Cougar freshmen had an impressive first fall season, each combining a winning record. Highlights include Vasilieva's 10-1 record and a defeat of Boise State's No.47-ranked Pittchitra Thongdach. Jackie Owens posted a 10-2 record, including a tournament championship at the Gonzaga Tournament. Erin Troedson earned two doubles tournament championships with junior partner Marina Nicolas. A seventh freshman, Lea Jansen, is a new addition to the spring roster, beginning school in January 2010.

Cheer on the Cougs: The Cougs look to increase overall season attendance this season and need your support. Last year's average attendance was more than 100 fans per match.

Next up: WSU will play two more away matches against Portland State, April 2 and Oregon, April 3 before returning home to conclude regular season play.

--www.wsucougars.com--
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