The Kansas State tennis team will kick off its 2013 spring schedule this weekend at the Georgia Invitational in Athens, Ga.
K-State will face Georgia, Memphis and Troy during the weekend at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The individual results from the weekend will count toward the national rankings and selections to the NCAA Championships, but the team results will not be tabulated to the teams’ overall records.
Wildcats’ head coach Steve Bietau returns for his 29th season with the Wildcats and owns 255 career victories. Bietau’s roster will include six letterwinners from the 2012 squad and the team will look to improve upon an 8-15 record including a 4-5 mark in Big 12 action.
The Wildcats finished the 2012 season ranked No. 71 in the nation.
For this weekend, Bietau will be looking for how well his No. 67-ranked Wildcats compete this early in the season against No. 6 Georgia and No. 58 Memphis.
“There are a couple of things we are looking for this weekend,” he said. “The biggest thing is the opportunity to compete against Georgia. We’ve got two of the best players in the country on our team and it is important that they have opportunities to compete against the best and it is a great chance for the rest of our team to see what it takes to play at that level.
“Second, I am concerned with how well we compete. The individual scores count for ranking and selections for NCAAs, but more importantly it is a good chance to test ourselves as a team.”
K-State will be led in singles this weekend by junior Petra Niedermayerova and senior Karla Bonacic.
Bietau is confident his top pair will rise to the challenge of facing strong competition this early in the season.
“It is going to be another day at the office for them,” he said. “Every time they step on the court there is someone strong in front of them. They both have proven that they know how to handle that situation.”
Niedermayerova will return to the site of one of her biggest career accomplishments, as she earned 2012 ITA All-America honors at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex last season during the NCAA Division I Singles Championships.
This season, Niedermayerova is opening the 2013 spring season ranked No. 15 in the national ITA singles rankings.
The native of Brno, Czech Republic, ended her fall season with a 13-3 record. During the fall of 2012, she tallied a quarterfinal appearance at the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships, the singles title at the ITA Central Regional and a consolation semifinal appearance at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
A two-time All-Big 12 selection, Niedermayerova owns a career singles record of 61-26 (.701), including a 17-15 mark when facing an opponent ranked among the national ITA singles rankings.
Niedermayerova needs four singles wins to move into fifth on the K-State career singles wins list. Her career winning percentage of .701 ranks second in school history.
Bonacic enters her final spring season with the Wildcats with a career record of 58-35 (.624). The product of Split, Croatia, needs five singles victories to move into sixth on the K-State career singles wins list. Bonacic’s career winning percentage of .624 ranks fifth in school history.
Following this weekend in Georgia, K-State will travel to Boston to face William & Mary and No. 74 Harvard Jan. 26-27.