Jan. 24, 2014
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The No. 49 Nittany Lions (3-0, 0-0) begin their road schedule when they travel to Waco, Texas to face the No. 19 Baylor Bears (5-0, 0-0). The match will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 25 at either the Hurd Tennis Center or Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center depending on the weather.
LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions started off with a bang winning all three of their matches. They kicked off their season with a 5-2 victory over Cleveland State before going back to work less than an hour later where they topped Bucknell 6-1. They closed out their weekend with a 7-0 shutout of Navy in the programs first meeting together.
All three wins saw Penn State claim the first four points, clinching the victory before allowing their opponents to get on the board. The Nittany Lions received production from their seniors down to the freshman taking a 15-3 (.833) singles record and perfect 6-0 (1.000) doubles mark into this weekend. Senior Marie-Frederique Bedard (Montreal, Canada) leads Penn State with a 6-0 record, while four other Nittany Lions also have not yet been defeated on the season.
The 19th ranked Bears enter this weekend's bout with Penn State 5-0 on the season. After beginning their season with a 6-1 win over the Warriors in Hawaii, Baylor squeezed by No. 72 Ohio State who came in looking for the upset, 4-3. The Bears easily defeated Texas-Pan American a few hours after the scare against the Buckeyes. They remained undefeated winning both matches of their second doubleheader in two days knocking off Syracuse (5-0) and Prairie View A&M (7-0).
Baylor is led by Kiah Generette, the nation's 38th-best singles player, who began her spring going 3-1 with her only loss coming in a third set tiebreaker to No. 72 Ohio State's Gabriella De Santis. On the doubles side, the Bears feature Blair Shankle and Victoria Kisialeva who are ranked No. 37 in the nation. The duo is perfect on the season winning all four of their matches thus far. The Bears enter the contest with a team singles record of 23-5 (.821) and perfect 10-0 (1.000) doubles record.
PENN STATE-BAYLOR SERIES HISTORY
The Nittany Lions come to Waco in search of their first win against the Bears. The two programs have only squared off against each other three times before with Baylor taking all of the matches matches. This will be the first meeting between the two since they met two seasons ago in Hawaii at the beginning of the season.
The Nittany Lions added five freshmen to the roster for the second consecutive year. This year's additions led by Samantha Tutelman (New York, N.Y.) and Taylor Shukow (Boca Raton, Fla.), both rated nationally by TennisRecruiting.net, add more youth and depth to a Penn State squad that lost two seniors from last year's team. In the first week of play the freshman went a combined 11-1 with Dasha Sapogova (Belarus, Minsk) leading the way with 5-0 record in three matches.
IN THE RANKINGS
In the most recent ITA Poll released on January 21, Penn State stayed at No. 49. The Nittany Lions were not jumped by any teams in the rankings following their 3-0 weekend. Last season the squad peaked at No. 30 in the team poll. No singles or doubles rankings were released this week. The next set of singles and doubles rankings will be released on February 11.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
The Nittany Lions' schedule includes 13 opponents ranked in the current ITA Top 75, seven of which are Big Ten opponents. Penn State's first match against a ranked team comes this weekend when they visit No. 19 Baylor.
Following their match in Texas the Nittany Lions will return home to host the No. 42 Kentucky Wildcats. Last season the Nittany Lions were victorious in the first-ever meeting between the two teams, winning 4-3 on the road in Lexington.