No. 29 Women's Tennis to Host Penn State, Virginia

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ORLANDO – The No. 29 UCF women's tennis team (5-5) will look to bounce back after last week as it continues its home stand this week, hosting No. 41 Penn State on Wednesday, Mar. 8 and No. 11 Virginia on Friday, Mar. 10. Both matches have a first serve time of 5 p.m. at the USTA National Campus.
The Knights faced off against Florida foe No. 30 Miami last weekend. Despite the doubles point being closely contested between the two teams, UCF was unable to pick up any momentum heading into singles and was defeated 0-4. The three singles courts that went unfinished after the match was clinched had all forced a third set. The doubles tandem of Noel Saidenova and Jantje Tilbuerger picked up its second win of the season, taking down Miami's top doubles court, 6-3. After starting off undefeated at home through the first eight matches, this marked the second-straight home loss for the Black and Gold.
The Knights dropped out of the top-25 teams in the ITA polls, but remained in the top-30, coming in at No. 30 after the heartbreaking loss to Miami. This is the lowest the squad has been ranked this spring season. Senior Marie Mattel continued her march up the rankings, rising to No. 30 in the latest ITA singles rankings. She made another mark in the record book, now tied with Valeriya Zeleva for the ninth-highest singles player in program history. Mattel and Sophia Biolay checked back into the doubles rankings, coming in at No. 61. The duo competed in its first match together of the spring season against TCU, handily taking down the 44th-ranked doubles pairing (6-1).
No. 41 Penn State enters Wednesday's matchup with an 8-6 record. In their last match, the Nittany Lions were soundly defeated by No. 4 Ohio State, 7-0. Although they dropped the matchup to the highly ranked Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions have three wins against ranked opponents on the season, with victories over No. 53 Kentucky, No. 62 West Virginia, and No. 67 Harvard.

Penn State is led by No. 43 Sofiya Chekhlystova, who has a 13-5 singles record, and a 4-6 doubles record. Before dropping a match to Ohio State's No. 20 Irina Cantos Siemers, Chekhlystova had won five of her six previous finished matchups. In doubles play, Alina Lebedeva leads the team with a combined record of 7-3.

UCF is 2-0 all-time against Penn State. In the previous matchup, the Knights claimed a 5-2 victory.
No. 11 Virginia arrives to the USTA National Campus on Friday with a 9-3 record. The Cavaliers have pieced together three wins in a row, including victories over No. 9 Duke, and No. 23 Syracuse. In their previous matchup, UVA defeated Boston College, 6-1. Virigina's losses on the year have all been hard fought battles against top ten ranked opponents, including No. 1 North Carolina, No. 6 Michigan, and No. 7 Pepperdine. 

The Cavaliers have five women ranked in the top 125, which include No. 44 Juila Adams, No. 69 Annabelle Xu, No. 78 Natasha Subhash, No. 89 Hibah Shaikh, and No. 124 Elaine Chervinsky. Sara Ziodata leads the team in singles wins 17, while Adams and Subhash each have 14 wins on the year. UVA also has two duos ranked in the top 10 for doubles play; No. 6 Chervinsky and Subhash, and No. 7 Adams and Melodie Collard. Both duos have 13 wins this season.

Last year's meeting between the Knights and Cavaliers was the first in program history. Virginia won the matchup 5-2, in Charlottesville.
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