Tennis Hosts Four In Vegas

March 20, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

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Alex Ivanova
Alex Ivanova
Courtesy: SUU Strategic Communications

CEDAR CITY, March 20 - Southern Utah's women's tennis team will play four matches in Las Vegas this week as it hosts its annual Dual In Las Vegas at Bally's Resort.

SUU opens the week Tuesday when the Thunderbirds face Seattle at 5:00 p.m. (PDT). The team then faces Drake on Friday at 6:00 p.m., North Dakota on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Idaho State on Sunday with the time TBA.

The Thunderbirds are coming off a 2-2 showing at last week's Summit League cluster in Las Vegas. SUU opened with a 4-3 win over IUPUI, then lost to IPFW 5-2 and UMKC 4-3 before wrapping up the weekend with a 4-3 win over South Dakota.

Up Next: Next week the Thunderbirds host Idaho State at the Thunderbird Courts on Tuesday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m., then travel to Northridge, Calif., for a meeting with Cal State Northridge on March 31.

Head Coach Lenny Lee (Temple, 1977) is in his 19th season as SUU's head coach. The 2008, 2009 and 2011 Summit League Coach of the Year, Coach Lee has compiled a career dual match record of 241-221 through 29 years of coaching, including a 67-42 Summit League mark. His teams have claimed six conference or district championships and over the past 15 years his program has been one of the most successful at Southern Utah University. During his 27 years as a collegiate coach Lee has mentored players at Montgomery County (PA) Community College, Eastern University (PA) and The College of New Jersey as well as at SUU. He picked up his 200th career win in April 2008 when the Thunderbirds upset IPFW in the semi-finals of the Summit League tournament.

T-Birds Picked Second In Pre-Season Summit League Poll: Southern Utah was picked to finish second in the Summit League this season in a poll of the conference's coaches. The Thunderbirds received 55 points, including two first-place votes, to finish behind top pick and defending champion IPFW, which garnered with the other seven first-place votes and 61 total points. UMKC, which upset SUU in the first round of last year's conference championships, was tabbed third with 53 points, while Oral Roberts, the 2009 champion, was  fourth with 43 points. IUPUI and South Dakota tied in fifth with 28 points, followed by South Dakota State (23 points), Oaklande (19) and Western Illinois (14).

Last Time Out: SUU got strong play from Ksusha Johnson and Olia Tatarchenko in singles and from Tatarchenko and Alex Ivanova in doubles as Johnson went 3-1 at first singles and Tatarchenko went 4-0 at No. 3 as well as 4-0 at first doubles with Ivanova as the team split four matches, beating IUPUI and South Dakota by 4-3 counts, and losing a 5-2 decision to IPFW and a 4-3 match against UMKC.

Tatarchenko was named the Summit League's player of the week for her efforts.

-- SUU --