ATLANTA--The Georgia State women's tennis team finishes up a rigorous regular-season with a road match at No. 37 South Florida on Sunday (10 a.m.).
Sunday will mark the seventh time this season GSU (8-6) will take on a ranked opponent. This will be the first time GSU and USF will meet in school history.
The battle-tested Panthers are looking to get back on the winning track against the Bulls (12-5) on Sunday. Georgia State dropped a narrow 4-3 match vs. conference rival VCU last Friday. GSU took the doubles point last Friday for the first time against a ranked opponent this season. Leading the way was the No. 2 pairing of junior Whitney Byrd and sophomore Maryna Kozachenko, who clinched the doubles point with a 9-8 (7-5) win in a tiebreaker. The duo improved to 4-1 this season with the win.
This match is an important barometer for fifth-year head coach Miha Lisac as the team prepares for the conference championships in less than two weeks.
"South Florida is a veteran team, they are well coached and will play solid doubles," Lisac said. "We need to at least match their intensity and focus, but I think we have seen talent-wise we can match up with a lot of teams that are nationally ranked. That's not our concern, but hopefully we take steps in the maturation process and improve our play in handling key situations throughout the match."
USF has owned a national ranking since it was No. 42 in the first list released on Jan. 3. The Bulls are led by junior Ecaterina Vasenina, the No. 41-ranked player in the ITA Women's National Singles rankings. Vasenina is 11-5 this season in singles play with victories over the No. 15 and No. 36 ranked singles players this season. Vasenina is also a part of the No. 54-ranked doubles pair in the nation with sophomore Loreta Alonso Martinez. Vasenina and Martinez are 11-4 this year with wins over the No. 18, No. 25 and No. 43-ranked doubles teams.
The duel of Vasenina and Georgia State sophomore Abigail Tere-Apisah at the top of the singles lineup highlights Sunday's match. Tere-Apisah enters the match as the No. 39-ranked singles player in the nation with a 13-1 record this year. The Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, native owns victories over three ranked opponents this season.
This will be the final regular-season match in the careers of senior Tereza Lerova and junior Martina Ondrackova as both will be graduating this spring. The two have been a part of 29 victories across their three years of play for the Panthers.
Visit the women's tennis page on www.GeorgiaStateSports.com following the match for a recap and a box score from Tampa, Fla.