April 13, 2011
Contact: Greg Murphy
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland State women's tennis team heads into the final weekend of the regular season in control of its own destiny. The weekend begins with a 7:00 p.m. match at Youngstown State on Friday (April 15) and concludes when the Vikings host Detroit at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday (April 16).
The Vikings, who are 10-11 overall, are in second place in the Horizon League with a 5-1 mark, one-half match ahead of both Butler and Wright State who are 4-1 with each team's lone loss coming to CSU this year.
Both Wright State and Butler have three matches this week, playing each other on Thursday and hosting both UIC and Valparaiso this weekend.
UIC is in first place in the league at 6-0.
But the math is pretty simple for the Vikings. Win both matches and clinch no worse than the No. 2 seed in next weekend's Horizon League Championship and an automatic bye into the semifinals.
"This is as big of a week as we have faced all season," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "We control our own destiny in terms of where we could finish in the league and securing that No. 2 seed and bye into the semifinals would be a great accomplishment. But we know that it won't be easy and we will have to come out focused and ready to play both matches this week.
"Both Youngstown State and Detroit are also fighting for position in the league tournament so we know that we are going to get their best shots this weekend. We just have to come out focused and do a good job of controlling the match right from the start as we have been doing for the last few weeks."
A pair of wins this weekend would tie the school record for best finish in the Horizon League at 7-1, which was also done last year.
"We have been building this program to get to this point," Etzkin said. "Our goal is to be successful year in and year out and work toward winning a league title."
CSU won a pair of matches on the road last weekend to move into second place in the league, winning 6-1 at Wright State on Saturday (April 9) and by an identical score at Butler on Sunday (April 10).
The Vikings won the doubles point both days and proceeded to capture five of the six singles contests in each match.
"I really think that our doubles is playing the best that they have played all season," Etzkin said. "And you need to be playing your best doubles at this point in the season because there will no doubt be a match or two that will be decided with that point. Plus, winning that point gives you the momentum heading into singles, knowing you only have to win three of the six singles matches to win."
Freshman Alex Bush earned a straight set win at No. 2 singles against Wright State, her team-leading 20th win of the season. She is just the ninth player in school history to reach 20 singles wins in a season.
Sophomore Maria Lazaris won both of her singles contests last weekend to improve to 14-7 overall and remain perfect in league matches at 6-0.
The Vikings will be back in action next weekend when CSU competes in the Horizon League Championships from April 21-23 at North Central H.S. in Indianapolis, Ind.