No. 21 Lady Raiders Looking For More Hardware At Championships|
Caroline Starck (left) was congratulated by teammates after clinching the Big 12 title on Sunday.
April 25, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – With its first-ever conference title in tow, the No. 22 Texas Tech Lady Raiders look to earn another piece of hardware at the 2012 Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championships held this weekend at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University.
The 2012 Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championships begin Thursday and conclude on Sunday with the championship match at noon.
“I have been saying it all year, but this is a special group,” said Lady Raider head coach Todd Petty. “We have stayed focused and not looked ahead and took the season one match at a time and in the end it paid off.
“Now we have the opportunity to play for the Big 12 Championship to go along with the regular season title. But to get there we have to stay focused on our next opponent, which will be either Missouri or Iowa State. We look forward to the challenge.”
Texas Tech just faced both squads this past weekend, dispatching No. 49 Missouri, 6-1, and upending Iowa State, 5-2, to clinch the Big 12 regular season title.
“Like in any tournament, we want to win and advance,” added Petty. “The Big 12 is a strong conference from top to bottom and we look forward to the challenge.”
After winning the Big 12 Conference, a first for the Lady Raiders, Texas Tech received a first round bye at the Big 12 Championships and will open play on Friday at 9 a.m. against No. 49 Missouri (10-11, 2-7 Big 12) or Iowa State (4-18, 1-8 Big 12).
If the Lady Raiders are able to get past either the Tigers or Cyclones, they will face the winner of the No. 13 Texas- No. 37 Oklahoma State match in the conference semifinals. OSU just upended the Longhorns on Sunday, taking away Texas’ share of the Big 12 title and shuttling them into No. 4 seed.
The Lady Raiders have appeared in the Big 12 quarterfinals nine times but have never advanced to the conference semifinals before.
Texas Tech features four players with 20 wins this season – Kenna Kilgo (27-8), Caroline Starck (26-8), Nikki Sanders (24-5) and Samantha Adams (20-14). Adams is the lone ranked player on the squad with a No. 104 ranking at the No. 2 singles position.
The Lady Raiders have been seemingly unstoppable at the bottom of the singles lineup this season. During dual matches, the Lady Raiders have gone 53-9 (85.5 percent) from the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 positions. Those positions have been anchored by Starck (No. 4), Kilgo (No. 5) and Sanders (No. 6).
Another strength for the Lady Raiders this season has been the solid doubles play during the dual match season. Paced by the No. 28 tandem of Adams and Kilgo, Texas Tech has won 19 of 22 doubles points as a team. Adams and Kilgo have gone 23-7 this season and 16-5 in dual matches. The pair were also 7-1 in Big 12 play.
Equally impressive is the double combo of Rashmi Teltumbde and Elizabeth Ullathorne. Paired to start the spring, the duo has gone 19-3 this season, including 15-3 in dual matches from the No. 3 position. Ullathorne has also established a Texas Tech spring record for doubles wins in a spring season with 21.
Starck and Sanders have solidified the No. 2 doubles spot in the rotation, recording a 14-11 record overall and an 11-8 mark in dual matches. Over the past two seasons, Starck and Sanders are 35-18 as a doubles tandem.
Missouri has been paced this season in singles play by Rachel Stuhlmann (15-7) and Alex Clark (15-9). The Tigers have had strong doubles play this season from Nina Pantic and Jamie Mera, who are ranked No. 83 nationally. The duo is 10-8 this spring at No. 1, while the tandem of Maria Christensen and Annemijn Koenen are 10-4 at No. 3.
Iowa State is led Marie-Christine Chartier (23-11)and Meghan Cassens (16-16) this season. Chartier plays mainly at No. 6, while Cassens secures the No. 4 spot for the Cyclones.
2012 Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championships