Women's Tennis: DePaul Heads to Texas for Final Two Road Tests
April 4, 2014
CHICAGO -- Perfect in February and March, the 31st-ranked DePaul women's tennis team wraps up its regular season road schedule this weekend against No. 26 Rice and No. 33 Houston.
The Blue Demons (17-1) enter the two matches winners of 16 straight, including a 9-0 victory over Point Loma Nazarene in San Diego, Calif., last weekend. DePaul hasn't lost a dual match since Jan. 26 when the team fell 4-1 at No. 7 Texas A&M.
Despite the loss at A&M, DePaul carries an impressive 8-1 road mark and eight-match road winning streak into the Rice and Houston matches.
"We set our goals very early that we wanted to win the BIG EAST and wanted to make the NCAAs," head coach Mark Ardizzone said earlier this week. "But our goals are also very specific to get better every day and that is what has impressed me the most about this team. Even with the win streak and some of the easier wins, these kids keep trying to get better. And that is great to see that they are not satisfied with what we have accomplished so far."
Individually, DePaul's starting lineup of No. 97 Ana Vladutu, No. 125 Patricia Fargas, Jasmin Kling, Kelsey Lawson, Zaina Sufi and Rebeca Mitrea has combined for 84 singles wins and just 16 losses in dual play, a winning percentage of 84 percent. The six are also a remarkable 37-9 in dual doubles matches.
In addition, some of the current individual marks are staggering. Mitrea has won her last 15 singles matches and holds a 16-1 record in dual play. Lawson is 15-1, winning her last 11, and Vladutu has won her last nine matches at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots. Fargas has anchored the Blue Demons at No. 1 and No. 2 singles as well, posting an 11-5 dual record, while Sufi has surrendered just one dual match at No. 5 singles (16-1 overall between No. 4 and 5 matches) and Kling is 13-3 in the No. 2, 3 and 4 slots.
But the Blue Demons have their work cut out for it this weekend, facing two tough opponents in Rice and Houston. Winners of its last six, Rice comes into its Saturday match with DePaul at 12-5, while Houston has won 8-of-10 and is 15-4 overall. Both teams hold strong home marks; Rice sits at 5-2 and Houston is 10-1.
However, DePaul has proven it can beat ranked opponents this year. The Blue Demons enter the weekend with a 5-1 record against nationally-ranked opponents, including a critical 5-2 win at then-No. 34 Indiana on March 8.
Following the trip to Houston, DePaul will have just two regular season matches remaining, both of them coming at home in Chicago. On April 13, the Blue Demons face Cincinnati and the regular season concludes on April 19 against Marquette. The BIG EAST Championships will be on April 24-27 in Flushing, Queens (N.Y.).