Sept. 22, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma women’s tennis team opens its fall season Friday as OU hosts its first ever Sooner Fall Invitational on Sept. 24-26 at the Headington Family Tennis Center.
“We have a total of 11 teams and 64 players competing this weekend,” head coach David Mullins said. “I am expecting a lot of great tennis.”
The tournament will feature players from Arkansas, Arkansas-Little Rock, DePaul, North Texas, Oklahoma State, OU, Portland, SMU, Texas Tech, Tulsa and Wichita State. Seven of the 11 teams, including the Sooners, finished last season ranked nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Six Sooners will see action in this weekend’s tournament, seniors Tara Eckel and Maria Kalashnikova, RS-sophomore Peta Maree Lancaster, sophomore Brittany Parks and freshmen Mia Lancaster and Whitney Ritchie.
“I am very happy that Mia and Whitney get to play their first college tournament on their home courts,” Mullins said. “I know they are looking forward to the challenges they will face this weekend.”
Ritchie and Mia Lancaster will make their Sooner debuts as part OU’s highest-rated recruiting classes in recent history. Ritchie finished her high school career ranked No. 16 nationally in singles and No. 1 in Oklahoma, while Mia finished at No. 23 nationally and No. 1 in the Missouri Valley. The pair has won a combined five national doubles titles and three state doubles titles over the last three years.
Kalashnikova finished third in the Big 12 last season at the No. 4 singles position with a team-best 16-7 overall record and 8-3 in conference action. The Tbilisi, Georgia native enters her senior season with a combined 59-46 record in singles.
Eckel held the team’s best record last fall, going 7-3 during the tournament season. Eckel then went 16-8 overall in the spring and 8-5 in the conference to finish fourth in the Big 12 at the No. 6 singles spot.
Peta Maree Lancaster returns to competition after suffering a wrist injury last season. Peta competed in one match last year before receiving a medical redshirt, defeating ORU’s Tori Dollar at the No. 5 singles spot, 6-3, 6-2.
Parks also saw action last spring against ORU, topping Ekaterina Kondrashova at the No. 6 singles spot, 6-3, 6-2. Parks finished the 2009 fall tournament season with a 6-5 overall record.
Competition begins Friday at 9 a.m.