ATLANTA--The No. 74-ranked Georgia State women's tennis team hits the home stretch of its season beginning with an important Colonial Athletic Association showdown on Friday at VCU (2 p.m.).
With two matches remaining, including the third CAA contest of its season, GSU is looking to build momentum for the CAA Championships taking place in mid-April. The Panthers (8-5) have battled through a daunting schedule by taking on five ranked teams this season. In their two remaining matches, Georgia State battles the No. 50-ranked Rams and No. 36 South Florida on Apr. 8.
"VCU is one of the top teams in the CAA and has been for many years," fifth-year head coach Miha Lisac said, "I think it's going to be an outstanding match and we're looking forward to the challenge. They are very solid in doubles and I think the doubles point will be huge in this match."
GSU enters Friday's match on the heels of a dominating 7-0 victory vs. Kennesaw State on Wednesday. The Panthers did not drop a set and sophomore Maryna Kozachenko did not drop a game on the day. Kozachenko notched a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 4 singles and paired with junior Whitney Byrd for an 8-0 victory at No. 2 doubles.
GSU and VCU (11-4) have met each of the last six seasons with the Rams owning a 5-3 lead in the series. Georgia State most recently played VCU in last year's CAA Championships. The Panthers eliminated the Rams from the tournament with a 4-2 upset win in the semifinals. GSU mounted a comeback after losing the doubles point behind victories from Kozachenko and sophomore Abigail Tere-Apisah.
Tere-Apisah enters Friday's match as the No. 39-ranked player in the most recent ITA Women's National Singles Rankings. She owns victories this season over three ranked opponents including Wake Forest's Kayla Duncan (#93), Georgia Tech's Jillian O'Neal (#45) and Fresno State's Marianne Jodoin (#42).
VCU is coming off a CAA match vs. Delaware on Wednesday. The Rams own victories this season against two ranked opponents with a 5-2 win at current No. 63 Virginia Tech on Feb. 15 and a 4-1 win vs. No. 75 UNC Wilmington on Jan. 21. The Rams are led by Alex and Ana Bara, both seniors from Oradea, Romania. The two have alternated playing in the number one and two singles positions, with Ana Bara most recently occupying the spot. In her last six matches, Ana Bara has faced four nationally-ranked singles opponents.
Visit the women's tennis page at www.GeorgiaStateSports.com following the match for a recap and box score of Friday's action.