Tennis squads welcome Oklahoma, Penn State



By Tyler Spanyer | @KernelSpanyer

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Coming off a pair of wins in the ITA Regional Kickoff last weekend, UK men’s tennis is back in action after a weeklong break, hosting No. 8 Oklahoma.

The Sooners are coming in hot on the back of a 3-0 start and having won their ITA Regional Kickoff event.

Oklahoma has wins against No. 30 Memphis and No. 11 Harvard on the year.

The Sooners are led by senior Costin Paval, who comes in ranked No. 103 in singles and No. 12 in doubles with playing partner, sophomore Dane Webb.

Paval and Webb were selected as 2012 All-Americans after making the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship.

Paval also was named Big 12 player of the year after a stellar junior season.

Paval is joined by two other Sooners in the ITA Top 125 Singles. 2012 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, senior Guillermo Alcorta, is ranked No. 36 while, Webb is ranked No. 71.

For the Cats, junior Tom Jomby, ranked No. 15, and senior Anthony Rossi, No. 94, will need strong performances to upset the experienced Oklahoma team that won the Big 12 title last year.

Coach Cedric Kauffmann has been stressing the importance of doubles in practice; however, following the match against Michigan State, Kauffmann said he will need an all-round strong performance from his team going forward.

“Sometimes we are going to have to lose the doubles and win to be a good team,” Kauffmann said, possibly alluding to this weekend’s matchup with one of the best teams in the country.

Jomby will look to continue his streak of winning the first set of each singles match, 6-0.

The match will be Sunday at the Hilary J. Boone Center, with first serve slated for 1 p.m.

After a two-week break, the women’s team travels to face Marshall on Friday, before hosting No. 49 Penn State on Sunday.

Senior Jessica Stiles leads the team into action following a 2-0 start.

Freshman Nadia Ravita impressed fans in her debut, dropping only five total points in her first two singles matches.

“Nadia was great,” head coach Carlos Drada said following the team’s wins over Morehead State and Belmont.

“She was very composed and learned a lot from her first performances of the year.”

Penn State is coming in hot after wins against Akron, Middle Tennessee State and Temple to give them a 3-0 record to begin the year.

Senior Petra Januskova and junior Chelsea Utting are the No. 42-ranked doubles pair in the country, and Januskova is also the No. 27-ranked sinlges player in the country to lead the Nittany Lions.

The Lions have four players ranked in their region with Januskova as the only player to break into the ITA Rankings.

The match will begin at 10 a.m. at the Lexington Tennis Club.