Women’s Tennis: WVU Opens Season at Ohio State


By Brian Kuppelweiser for WVUsports.com
January 20, 2012 05:22 PM
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The West Virginia University women’s tennis team will open its 2012 spring season on Saturday at 1 p.m., as it travels to Columbus, Ohio to square off against No. 55 Ohio State.

“Nothing is going to be handed to us in this match,” say coach Tina Samara. “If we want to walk away with a win, we have to show up from the first point and be ready to play. We are obviously the underdog, but that isn’t a bad thing. The opponent may take us a bit lightly due to the fact that we haven’t been very competitive against them in the past. ”

The Buckeyes opened their season last Sunday with a 6-1 loss to No. 42 South Florida. Ohio State’s lone point in the match came when Fidan Manashirova defeated her opponent in the No. 4 singles spot.

“They have played one match, but I don’t think that is going to make a big difference,” Samara says. “There are going to be some nerves with our girls, but Ohio State is going to have some nerves too.”

The Mountaineers will return three players from last year’s starting lineup in senior Veronica Cardenas, junior Emily Mathis and sophomore Mary Chupa. Senior Catie Wickline will also move into the lineup after playing in 12 matches in spot duty last season.

Filling out the lineup for WVU will be freshmen Ikttesh Chahal and Madison Hromada.

“I am kind of curious to see how our team is going to compete,” Samara says. “We have done a way better job of preparing ourselves this year. All of the girls have improved a ton since last year, and we saw some of that improvement during the fall season.”

Of the utmost importance to Samara and her team on Saturday will be taking advantage of their strength in the doubles game in order to gain the doubles point. The No. 1 doubles matchup will likely consist of Mathis and Chupa taking on the No. 52 doubles team in the nation of the Buckeye’s Kara Cecil and Kelsey Dieters.

“Emily and Mary have not played together a lot, but in the time that they have played together, they have played well,” Samara says. “We are not as deep as some other tennis programs, so that point will be extremely important to get.”

A full recap of Saturday’s action will be available on MSNsportsNET.com after the completion of competition.

Tags
West Virginia University, Tina Samara, NCAA women's tennis


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