AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron tennis team begins the spring component of its schedule this weekend with a trip to the state of Michigan. The Zips, the 2011 Mid-American Conference tournament champions, compete at Oakland (0-2) on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET and visit Michigan State (1-0) on Sunday at noon.
UA begins the dual-match portion of its schedule with several players recognized in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Midwest Region rankings. In singles, freshman Olga Shkundina is listed No. 10 and senior Zara Harutyunyan No. 12. Shkundina went 11-3 in singles play during the fall season and Harutyunyan was 11-4. In the doubles rankings, the UA pair of Harutyunyan and junior Prang Pantusart are listed at No. 6 and maintain an 8-2 record.
The Zips, who went 20-5 overall and 7-1 in MAC play in 2011 en route to the program's first league championship, closed out their fall season by winning flight one doubles and singles at the North Texas Classic (Nov. 4-6). Harutyunyan downed Martina Trierweiler of UTEP 6-2, 6-3 to capture the flight one bracket title. She then paired up with Pantusart to defeat Trierweiler and Gaby Vazquez 8-3 in the finale of the top doubles draw.
Akron is 2-0 all-time versus Oakland, meeting during the 2007 and 2008 season. The Zips won 6-1 in the last matchup with the Grizzlies on Feb. 2, 2008 at OU.
UA is 2-3 all-time when going against Big Ten foe Michigan State, but has topped the Spartans on the road in each of the previous two seasons. The Zips claimed a 4-3 comeback win in East Lansing, Mich., last season (Jan. 29, 2011) after claiming a 6-1 victory on Jan. 22, 2010. All five matchups between the programs have come in East Lansing.
Coincidentally, MSU's victory this season came versus Oakland, 7-0 on Jan. 18.
Following this weekend's travels, UA is idle until a Feb. 4 doubleheader at home versus IUPUI (10 a.m.) and Wright State (2 p.m.) at its indoor home of LaTuchie Tennis Center in nearby Stow, Ohio.