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Jan. 31, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 50 Nittany Lions (3-1, 0-0) return home to face the No. 42 Kentucky Wildcats (3-1, 0-0) at the Penn State Indoor Tennis Center at 10 a.m. Saturday. Penn State will look to remain unbeaten at home this season after winning their first three matches of the season in University Park, Pa.
There will be free pizza for all fans in attendance during Saturday's match.
LAST TIME OUT
After kicking off the season with three straight dominating wins the Nittany Lions went down south where they couldn't pull off the upset against No. 19 Baylor. The Nittany Lions evened the doubles event at one match a piece with Marie-Frederique Bedard (Montreal, Canada) and Dasha Sapogova's (Belarus, Minsk) win at No. 2 doubles but Baylor squeezed past in the final doubles match giving them the early 1-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions put up a fight in singles but were ultimately swept by the Big 12 power. Katherine Whiteaway took her No. 5 singles match into a super breaker after splitting the first two sets, but Makenzie Craft came out with the 11-9 super breaker victory.
PENN STATE NOTES
- Dasha Sapogova, Marie-Frederique Bedard and Carmen Sandor (Toronto, Canada) lead the Nittany Lions with three singles wins a piece through four matches.
- Bedard and Sapogova lead the team in doubles with a 4-0 and 3-0 record respectively.
- Penn State enters the match with a 15-9 (.625) record in singles and 7-2 (.778) record in doubles.
- The freshman have provided a boost early in the season recording over a third of the team's victory total in singles and being a part of six of their seven doubles wins.
- The Nittany Lions are currently in the midst of a four-match stretch against ranked opponents. Aside from this weekend's match with Kentucky the remaining three are all away from Happy Valley.
- Penn State has a .500 record or better in all three doubles spots and five of six singles spots.
The 42nd ranked Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Tournament hosted by Duke. After starting the season at home with a pair of wins in their doubleheader against Cincinatti (7-0) and Ball State (4-2) the Wildcats squared off against Tulane and Duke in the ITA event.
Against Tulane Kentucky found themselves trailing 1-0 after dropping two of the three doubles matches. They came back in singles winning the first four to clinch the 4-1 victory moving them into the final for a chance to clinch a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. No. 10 Duke proved to be too much winning 4-0.
The Wildcats feature one player ranked in the singles poll and one pair in the doubles poll. Nadia Ravita comes into the match ranked the nation's 108th best player, however both of her singles match have gone unfinished so far this spring. In doubles Kelsey Dieters, a junior transfer from Ohio State, joins CeCe Witten in the No. 56 spot in the ITA double poll. The pair is 2-2 on the young season and is coming off of two consecutive defeats.
PENN STATE-KENTUCKY SERIES HISTORY
The Nittany Lions and Wildcats have only met once before with the inaugural meeting coming last season in Lexington. The Nittany Lions came out of the match with a hard-fought 4-3 victory, improving their record to 4-0 on the season.
The Nittany Lions fell behind early in last season's match dropping two of the three doubles matches but were able to win four of the six singles matches to secure the victory. Three of the four wins in doubles came in third-set super breakers including Carmen Sandor's victory over No. 117 Caitlin McGraw in the No. 5 match to clinch the one-point victory for Penn State.
IN THE RANKINGS
In the most recent ITA Poll released on January 29, Penn State moved back one spot to No. 50. The Nittany Lions fell victim to No. 19 Baylor but were not significantly impacted in the rankings where they remain in the Top 50. They stay in the company of 13 of their opponents this season including seven Big Ten teams. Singles and doubles rankings were released this week. The next set of singles and doubles rankings will be released on February 11.
The Nittany Lions will head back on the road for a pair of matches against ranked squads in Virginia. They'll square off against No. 43 College of William & Mary on Saturday (Feb. 8) at 11:30a.m. and No. 44 Virginia Commonwealth University at 11 a.m. on Sunday (Feb. 9).