ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Lucia Kovalova was named MVC Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week, the Valley announced on Tuesday. This is Kovalova’s first career MVC Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week honor, and the fourth time a Shocker has won the award this season. Abby Stevens (Jan. 21), Julia Schiller (Feb. 4) and Montse Blasco Fernandez (Feb. 11) are the other previous winners.
Kovalova was 4-0 in combined play during her matches against Missouri on Feb. 16 and UT-Arlington on Feb. 17. Both of her matches took place at the Wichita Country Club in Wichita.
Against Missouri, Kovalova and doubles partner Veronika Blaskova defeated Cierra Gaytan-Leach/ Rachel Stuhlmann by an 8-3 score. This was important because their doubles win secured the doubles point and the doubles portion sweep. She then defeated Stuhlmann 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 in singles play, giving No. 54 Wichita State a 4-1 lead. The Shockers went on to beat Missouri 6-1.
Kovalova/Blaskova earned the first win in doubles play when they earned an 8-3 victory against the team of Ekaterina Tugarinova/Elizabeth Thomas from UT-Arlington. This helped the Shockers to later earn a sweep of the doubles portion.
She would later win her singles match 6-2, 7-5 over Angeles de los Rios to give WSU a 3-1 advantage. Wichita State would go on to defeat UT-Arlington 4-0. On the season, Kovalova is 7-2 in singles play and is 6-4 in doubles play.
Shockers Continue to Climb the National Rankings
Thanks in part to Kovalova's strong play over the past week, the Shockers moved into the top-60 for the first time in two seasons, coming in at No. 54 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association's National Rankings revealed on Tuesday.
No. 54 Wichita State moved up eight spots from last week when they were ranked 62nd in the ITA's National Rankings. This is the Shockers' highest ranking since February 1, 2008 when they were ranked No. 32 going into their match against the University of Georgia who was ranked fifth.
The Shockers resume play from February 21-23 when they go on a three-match Colorado road trip to face Northern Colorado, No. 57 University of Denver, and the University of Colorado respectively.