Sun Devils Continue Homestand with Weekend Tilts Against San Diego, Kansas
TEMPE, Ariz. – For the second consecutive weekend, the Sun Devils are back at the Whiteman Tennis Center when they'll host San Diego on Saturday, February 26, and Kansas on Sunday, February 27. Both matches are slated to begin at 12 p.m. MST.
In order to keep their undefeated home streak alive this season – as they're a perfect 4-0 at Whiteman – the Sun Devils will have to prevail against a pair of quality opponents. In the latest ITA team rankings, Kansas and San Diego were tabbed as the Nos. 30 & 31 squads in the nation.
ASU (5-2) finds itself just outside of the top-25, currently sitting at No. 32.
The Sun Devils are a week removed from a terrific, come-from-behind victory against Kansas State, in which they erased an early 2-0 hole and triumphed to their fourth win at home this season. A win on Saturday against the Toreros would be the third consecutive season that they've started the spring at 6-2 through eight matches.
Fans can watch both matches via the Pac-12 ASU Live Stream and follow along with live stats here.
Here's a look at who's coming to town this weekend.
PREVIEWING THE JAYHAWKS (5-3)
- After three consecutive losses to begin the spring, the Jayhawks have quickly tacked on five consecutive wins, with their latest take down coming over No. 16 Old Dominion.
- The Jayhawks won their home opener against Arkansas, 5-2, on February 6. They are currently undefeated at home this year in four tries.
- The Jayhawks have a pair of nationally-recognized singles players in Maria Titova (No. 63) and Malkia Ngounoue (No. 121).
- Todd Chapman is in his ninth season as Head coach of the Jayhawks Women's Tennis team and has led them to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances plus a 2019 Big 12 Championship.
PREVIEWING THE TOREROS (5-2)
- As of February 23, USD entered the national rankings for the first time this season, coming in at No. 31, according to the ITA.
- The Toreros opened their 2022 season at Fresno State, winning comfortably, 6-1.
- Since the season-opening victory, they've tallied four wins between January 29 and February 19.
- They are returning from an amazing 2021 campaign, where the Toreros recorded 12 shutout victories, the most in program history.
- This is head coach Sherri Stephen's last season with the Toreros, which she announced in January. Throughout her 37 seasons at USD, she has recorded 418 wins, 13 NCAA tournaments, and a WCC championship in 2012. She is hoping to build off of the success in their 2021 season where the team made it to the NCAA Championship.
- Seven players return from last season, adding newcomer Claudia de las Heras to this season's roster. Solymar Colling (No. 59) and Abigail Desiatnikov (No. 95) are two Toreros ranked nationally in singles play.
- In 2021, the Toreros set the third-longest winning streak in program history, with San Diego winning nine matches between March 21 and April 25.
Over the past 38 years, Sun Devil head coach Sheila McInerney has cemented herself as one of the winningest coaches in the vast history of NCAA Women's Tennis. With 545 career wins under her belt, she's tied with Betsy Kuhle, the former 33-year head coach for Western Michigan University and now a member of the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame.
Among active coaches, McInerney ranks fifth all-time in career wins.
MOST WINS BY ACTIVE WOMEN'S TENNIS COACHES (ENTERING 2022)
773-Jeff Wallace, Georgia (1986-present)
683-Brian Kalbas, William & Mary, North Carolina (1992-present)
551-Jamie Ashworth, Duke (1997-present)
549-Claire Pollard, Miss. State, Lamar, Northwestern (1990-91, 1994-98, 99-present)
540-Sheila McInerney, Arizona State (1985-present)
Senior Domenika Turkovic and freshman Patricija Spaka have teamed up to form a terrific one-two punch on Court 1 in doubles play in the early going of 2022. The pair has continued to earn national recognition, ranked in the latest ITA polls as the nation's No. 49 pair.
Movin' on up ?? pic.twitter.com/JUNdncYcHp
— Arizona State Women's Tennis (@sundevilwtennis) February 24, 2022
The Sun Devils' highly-decorated freshman Patricija Spaka has been as advertised through the first seven matches of her collegiate career. Spaka has paired her team-best six wins in singles play with a top-50 doubles ranking. After being listed as the nation's No. 2 freshman in the ITA's preseason rankings, the Latvian native has lived up to the billing for Sheila McInerney in the season's infancy.
Spaka was also the first Sun Devil freshman to start her collegiate career 5-0 in singles play through the team's first five matches of the season since Sammi Hampton in 2015-16. Hampton aced the first eight singles matches of her freshman year in the spring of 2016.
GOIN' BACK TO CALI
For much of the off-season, the coaching staff toyed with different lineups and wondered who would slot where in the starting six. A huge boost for McInerney this spring has been senior Cali Jankowski, the only returning player from the 2019 season. She's a perfect 5-0 in singles and 3-1 alongside Sedona Gallagher on Court 3 in doubles play.
HOME, SWEET HOME
The Sun Devils are in the midst of a lengthy stay in Tempe that will stretch into early March. This weekend against both San Diego and Kansas are two of five consecutive home matches. The Sun Devils are a perfect 4-0 at home in 2022 after securing a comeback win last weekend against Kansas State.
FEB. 20 vs. Kansas State (W, 4-2)
FEB. 26 vs. San Diego at 12 p.m. MST
FEB. 27 vs. Kansas at 12 p.m. MST
MARCH 4 vs. Washington at 1:30 p.m. MST
MARCH 5 vs. Washington State (start time TBD)