NORMAN – The Oklahoma women’s tennis team is slated to open the 2018 season with a pair of road matches Saturday. The Sooners travel to Auburn to face the Tigers at 10 a.m. CT and Georgia State in a neutral-site contest at 2 p.m., both at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Led by second-year head coach Audra Cohen, the Sooners will look to build on a successful campaign in 2017. OU posted a 14-8 overall record and went 4-5 in Big 12 action. The Sooners fell just short of an NCAA tournament bid as a team, but current senior Lily Miyazaki became the first Oklahoma player to make an appearance at the NCAA individual championships since Anda Perianu in 2004.
Miyazaki led the way for the Sooners in 2017, posting a 13-5 record from the No. 1 line. The Tokyo, Japan, native has played at the No.1 position for the entirety of her career at Oklahoma, and will look for another tournament bid in her final season at OU.
Also returning for the Sooners are fellow seniors Malene Stripp, Christie Brigante and Simran Sethi. Stripp posted a 10-7 record on courts three and four, while Brigante had just one loss on the season to go 5-1 on courts four and six.
Joining the squad are freshmen and Norman natives Nina Jabrzemski and Skyler Miller, as well as Camila Romero of Guayaquil, Ecuador, and Martina Capurro, from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Sooners have also added a pair of sophomore transfers in Oleksandra Korashvili from Odessa, Ukraine, and the 2017 NJCAA singles champion Jasmine Asghar of London, England. Asghar won the individual title as well as the 2017 team crown with Tyler Junior College.
The Tigers enter the match at No. 14 in the latest ITA team rankings, and will open the season Friday with UL-Monroe and Georgia State in a doubleheader.
Auburn compiled a 25-11 overall record with a 5-8 slate in SEC action. The Tigers earned an NCAA tournament bid and hosted the first two rounds, in which they defeated DePaul and Florida State before falling to Texas Tech in the sweet 16 in Athens, Ga.
Current senior Alizee Michaud led the Tigers with a 23-9 record between courts one and two, while now-sophomore Taylor Russo went 20-6 from the No. 2 and 3 lines, including a 17-5 record on court three. Russo enters the 2018 season ranked No. 77 in the ITA poll.
Michaud and Russo led the Tigers in doubles, posting a 16-8 record from the No. 1 line. The pair made an NCAA tournament appearance, advancing to the round of 16 before they were eliminated by eventual champions Francesca DiLorenzo and Miho Kowase of Ohio State. Michaud and Russo enter the season at No. 33 in the ITA poll.
Auburn’s lineup features one other ranked player: freshman Jaeda Daniel is No. 53 in the ITA preseason release following a 9-4 record in fall singles play, including three wins over ranked opponents.
Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between Oklahoma and Auburn.
Scouting Georgia State
Georgia State comes into Saturday’s matchup after a 13-9 season in 2017, posting a 4-3 mark in Sunbelt Conference action. The Panthers will open the season Friday at Auburn.
In singles action, current senior Kristin Rehse compiled a 9-5 record at the No. 1 line and enters the season at No. 108 in the ITA rankings.
Now-sophomore Arina Taluyenko tallied the most singles wins by a Georgia State player last season. Taluyenko, who played on courts one through five, was 15-4 overall and 5-1 in conference matches.
Saturday’s contest will also be the first meeting between the Sooners and Georgia State.
Live stats will be available for the Sooners’ clash with Auburn and can be found here.
For updates, follow @OU_WTennis on Twitter.