Sophomore Yana Erkeeva
March 9, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. (SMU) -- SMU takes its three match win streak on the road this week as the Mustangs travel to Florida to take on Penn State, No. 62 South Florida and UCF. Matches against the Nittany Lions (March 11, 12 p.m.) and the Bulls (March 12, 11 p.m.) will take place in Tampa, while the final match of the week, UCF (March 13, 2 p.m.) will be played in Orlando. The matches against USF and UCF are the third and fourth American Athletic Conference matches of the season for SMU. SMU is 4-8 overall and 1-1 in The American and are winners of three straight with victories over Sam Houston State (5-0), UTEP (5-2) and Temple (7-0). Following this week, the Mustangs return home to take on AAC foe and No. 21 ranked Houston in Dallas on March, 22 at 4 p.m.
Strength of Schedule:
SMU will play nine total teams that are ranked in the ITA. The Mustangs have already played matches against No. 18 Texas Tech, No. 60 LSU, No. 26 Tulsa and No. 31 Memphis. SMU’s next match against a ranked opponent is American Athletic Conference foe and No. 62 USF on Wednesday.
The Week That Was:
SMU competed once this past week as the Mustangs hosted their second American Athletic Conference match this season as the Mustangs swept Temple, 7-0. The Mustangs quickly took the doubles point, with Vaszilisza Bulgakova and Dasha Sharapova (8-3) winning 8-2 in the No. 1 spot and sophomore Hristina Dishkova and junior Holly Verner (8-1) winning 8-4 in the second position. SMU then won all six singles matches in straight sets, with only Bulgakova at the No. 1 spot going to a third frame. Bulgakova (11-7) rebounded from a second set loss with a 7-6 victory in a close third set. Anna Kate Anderson (10-10) won her fourth straight match at the No. 6 spot, while Dishkova (15-10), Sharapova (12-8), Yana Erkeeva (13-7) and Macie Elliott (10-12) cruised at the No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 positions to wins in straight sets, respectively.
Scouting the Nittany Lions:
Penn State is 4-7 this season and has defeated Cleveland State (5-2), Bucknell (6-1), Navy (7-0) and West Virginia (6-1). The Nittany Lions are led by freshman Dasha Sapogova and senior Marie Bedard who have posted 9-2 and 10-11 marks this spring, respectively. Penn State has yet to win a road match this spring.
Tuesday marks the second ever meeting between SMU and Penn State. The two schools met for the first time in the 2009-10 season when the Mustangs swept the Nittany Lions, 7-0 in Dallas.
Scouting the Bulls:
No. 62 South Florida is 8-3 this season and has defeated one currently ranked ITA opponents including No. 59 Ohio State, 4-1. The Bulls are led by senior Loreto Martinez and freshman Vera Bessonova who have posted solid 12-3 and 11-4 marks this spring, respectively. In addition, Martinez is 8-1 in dual matches at the No. 1 singles position.
Wednesday marks the second ever meeting between SMU and USF. The two schools met for the first time in the 1994-95 season when Bulls defeated the Mustangs, 7-2 in a neutral site match that was played in San Diego, Calif.
Scouting the Knights:
UCF is 4-5 this season and has defeated Florida Gulf Coast (4-3), Bethuane Cookman (5-2), Georgia Southern (5-2) and UNC Asheville (6-0). The Knights are led by freshman Cortney Cesarini and sophomore Sofia Baptista who have posted 14-11 and 10-12 marks this spring, respectively. UCF is 2-3 at home this spring.
SMU and UCF last met in the 2011-12 season when the Mustangs fell to the Knights, 5-2 in Dallas.
Start of an Era:
Joining the American Athletic Conference for its inaugural season, the SMU women’s tennis team is competing in its fourth conference since the program’s inception in 1972. The American consists of 10 teams during its first season, highlighted by three ranked teams including No. 21 Houston, No. 27 Memphis and No. 62 South Florida.
A Temporary Home:
SMU will play its home matches at the Northwood Club Tennis Courts while the new SMU men’s and women’s tennis complex is being built. The address for the Northwood Club is 6524 Alpha Rd. Dallas, TX 75240. Below are directions from the Loyd All-Sports Center on SMU’s campus to Northwood.