No. 69 Women's Tennis Hosts Think Pink Match, Two Others in Busy Weekend
Freshman Ana Vladutu enters the weekend with a team-high 19 singles wins going back to the fall season.

Feb. 22, 2013

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CHICAGO - No. 69 DePaul women's tennis returns to Lincoln Park for a special weekend, kicking off a three-match slate at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness against IPFW and honoring two former players affected by breast cancer during Saturday's first match.  

"It's one of those times we get to play a match that means more than just a regular tennis match," said head coach Mark Ardizzone. "We get to honor two of our players who are going through something a little bit more than playing tennis."

Those players are Natalie Matko - a standout and team captain who graduated in 2003 - who is currently fighting the disease, and breast cancer survivor Amy Slavicek-Untch. Untch was one of Ardizzone's first players to come to DePaul when he took over the program in 1997.  

Matko, who is unable to travel from her home in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the match due to her treatments, was a Rev. John R. Cortelyou Award winner as a senior and won over 80 career matches during her time at DePaul.

"It's a much harder day for me than it is for the girls," said Ardizzone. "Because of the time I've spent with both of the kids that are going through this fight and just I'm just appreciative that they are both still adamant supporters of our program and that they still care."

"Natalie drove all the way to Michigan when we made the NCAA's to watch us play and both of them are just huge supporters still so for us to give just a little bit back - just to show that we appreciate them - hopefully it's just a positive thing. Natalie's going to win her fight and Amy already did, it was much bigger than any tennis match."

Weekend Preview
As a team, the Blue Demons are also seeking to extend an impressive streak of seven consecutive victories and will welcome Western Illinois and Syracuse for a full trio of dual matches on Saturday and Sunday at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness.

Up first will be a Saturday doubleheader with the Blue Demons (7-2) beginning play against the Mastodons before returning to the courts at 6:00 p.m. to face Western Illinois. The team will then turn around quickly to play again on Sunday, facing BIG EAST rival Syracuse on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

No. 72-ranked Matea Cutura heads the Blue Demon lineup with a 7-3 mark in dual matches and a 17-5 ledger overall. The freshman has picked up four ranked wins in her first collegiate season.

Playing primarily at fourth singles, junior Kelsey Lawson has put together a team-best eight wins thus far in dual match play. The pairing of Cutura and Lawson has also been formidable at second doubles, where the team captain and Croatian-native are 7-0 overall.

DePaul also features an unbeaten tandem in freshmen Jarret Fisher and Zaina Sufi (7-0) and have taken the doubles point in all seven of its wins.

Scouting IPFW
Entering the weekend at 6-4 overall, the Mastodons will play at Bowling Green on Friday before challenging the Blue Demons on Saturday afternoon.

Winners of 4-of-5, IPFW has won five matches by way of 7-0 sweeps and sports a 1-1 record away from Fort Wayne, Ind. Overall, the Mastodons boast a 42-18 singles record and 23-7 mark in pairs play.

Anita Henestrosa leads the team with a 6-3 record at the top spot of the lineup, and is 6-4 overall in dual match play. Miloslava Shustova also boasts 10-0 record, playing anywhere from the three to six spots for IPFW.    

Scouting Western Illinois
Sitting at 0-4 overall, the Leathernecks have had a rough start in dual play dropping each of their matches by way of the sweep.

0-2 overall on the road, Western Illinois will bring a team hungry for its first point of the season. The teams share one common opponent, Iowa, which DePaul defeated 5-2 on Feb. 10 in Lincoln Park.

Scouting Syracuse
Winners of four straight and coming off a 6-1 win over BIG EAST foe Pittsburgh, the Orange (4-5) will face a similarly-colored opponent on Friday in Illinois before heading to Lincoln Park for Sunday's match.

After beginning the year ranked No. 72 by the ITA, Syracuse will be looking for its first road win of the season after a tough away schedule - highlighted by three ranked opponents - resulted in an early 0-5 record, dropping the team out of the team rankings.  

In singles, Syracuse features a pair of players sharing the team-high with six wins in Amanda Rodgers and Maddie Kobelt.

Rodgers is 6-3 overall and is currently on a six-match winning streak, playing anywhere from first-to-third in the lineup. The sophomore also teams up with Komal Safdar in doubles, where the pair is on a six-match tear.



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