ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 23 UCF women’s tennis team finishes will renew their rivalry with War On I-4 foe the No. 45 USF Bulls on Saturday at 3 p.m. as the team’s regular season finale. The match will be senior Natalia Serrano’s Senior Knight as she plays her last regular season match for the Black and Gold.
The War On I-4 trophy has already been clinched thanks in part to other UCF sports building a 43-8 lead to this point in the season. On the tennis courts, the Knights have split their last four matches with the Bulls with UCF winning last year’s battle 4-1.
Serrano has a chance to leave her legacy in the record books on Saturday as she has continued to win this season. She has 73 career singles victories to this point, good enough for a tie in fourth place with Julie Pecastaing, who played for UCF from 2000-2004. A win against the Bulls would put her at 74 career wins, tying her with Daniela Okal and Ann-Jeanette Svantesson, who both graduated in 2001. The all-time career wins leader at UCF was Monica Matias, who picked up 88 career singles victories from 2015-2018.
Serrano, as well as a few others, are eyeing the record for single-season victories which includes both fall and spring matches. Serrano gathered six victories in the fall and has earned a 13-2 record to this point, giving her 19 in the 2018-2019 campaign. She’ll need to get to 22 to be in a tie for sixth place. Meanwhile, Ksenia Kuznetsova has already reached 22 wins on the season, collecting 10 wins in the fall and 12 this spring. A win would put Kuznetsova in a tie for fifth place, with a chance to climb even higher in the postseason. Rebeka Stolmar is also in the hunt for this record as she has 20 wins over the course of the season.
The Knights are looking to shake off their last outing which saw them lose their first match in 68 days to No. 12 Oklahoma State. UCF won the doubles point but ultimately lost the match 5-2. The Black and Gold looks to stay perfect in American Athletic Conference Play, a feat they haven’t accomplished in the American’s existence. The Knights boast a conference record of 5-0 coming into the match.
The Bulls also had a perfect record in the American until their last match where they fell to Houston by a score of 4-2 on the road. USF has struggled on the road, going just 1-5 away from Tampa this season. They have dropped two of their last three matches but have been victorious in five of their last seven.
There will most likely be a top-60 showdown at the No. 1 singles position on Saturday, as USF’s Ana Roman Dominguez is ranked No. 56 in the nation while UCF’s Valeriya Zeleva checks in at No. 48. The No. 1 doubles court may also have a battle of ranked tandems. No. 19 Zeleva and Kuznetsova may be facing off against No. 88 Nicole Dzenga and Vanja Klaric, who just cracked into the Oracle/ITA doubles rankings.
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