The Bowling Green State University tennis team heads to the West Coast for a pair of matches this week. The Falcons of head coach Penny Dean are in Palm Springs, Calif., and will begin with a Wednesday (March 12) match vs. the University of Rhode Island.
Then, on Thursday (March 13), the Brown and Orange will battle Gonzaga University. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, and both are slated to be played at the Doral Desert Princess Resort in Palm Springs.
BGSU was originally scheduled to face Niagara University on this week's trip, but that match was cancelled, as the Purple Eagles did not travel to California.
For the first time in nearly two years, the Falcons are coming off back-to-back losses. Only two of the seven members of the 2013-14 team were on the roster the last time BGSU fell in back-to-back duals (April 13-20, 2012).
This year's BG squad is 4-3 in dual-match play, with four wins in the first five matches of the season. Those wins came over Youngstown State and UIC at home and Duquesne and Cleveland State on the road, with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Michigan State. But, in the team's most recent action, the Falcons dropped a 7-0 decision to Xavier (Feb. 21) and a narrow 4-3 match at Cincinnati (Feb. 22).
Senior co-captain Nikki Chiricosta is poised to tie or break a pair of school records this week. The Avon Lake, Ohio, native has 89 career singles wins, and 177 combined career victories. Her next singles win would break the BGSU career record she currently shares with her sister, Christine. And, Nikki trails Christine's school record for combined career wins by just one. Christine Chiricosta finished her BGSU career (2008-11) with 178 total wins, with 89 each in singles and doubles.
Sophomore Katie Brozovich and freshman Hannah Drayton each picked up wins in both singles and doubles in BG's last match, at UC. Brozovich won at the third singles flight, and teamed up with Chiricosta for a victory at two doubles. Drayton was a winner at the number-five singles flight after combining with fellow freshman Harley Hutchison for a win at the third doubles flight.
On the season, Chiricosta leads the Falcons with 28 overall wins, while Brozovich has 24 and senior co-captain Emily Reuland 21. Chiricosta paces the team in both singles wins, with 12, and doubles victories. She is 16-6 in doubles play this season, including a 12-4 record when competing with Brozovich.
Drayton, Hutchison and sophomore Drew Fillis each have 15 overall wins this year to date, while freshman Brittany Plaszewski currently has six wins in her initial season with the Falcons.
In her young career, Brozovich now has a singles record of 26-3 in dual-match play. She is 6-1 at the third flight this year after spending time at the fourth (10-1), fifth (2-0) and sixth (8-1) flights last spring.
Both seniors are high atop all three BGSU career wins lists. In addition to Chiricosta's lofty standings on both the singles and overall wins charts, she ranks third in doubles victories, with 88. Maddy Eccleston (2010-13) holds the record with 97 career doubles wins as a Falcon, while Christine Chiricosta is second with 89.
Reuland has a total of 155 wins at BGSU, with 79 singles victories and 76 doubles wins. She has moved into sole possession of fourth place on the overall wins list, and is now tied for fourth in singles victories. Reuland is fifth in BG history in doubles victories heading into the week.
The BGSU season and career records can be found by clicking the "BGSU Stats & Records" PDF link near the top of this page.
Rhode Island has a record of 4-5 on the season, and the Rams are scheduled to meet Gonzaga Monday (March 10) before facing the Falcons two days later. URI won back-to-back matches at Long Island and Saint Peter's to move over .500 on the season, but the Rams lost at Brown on March 1 before suffering a 7-0 defeat to Portland on Sunday in Palm Springs. Head coach Val Villucci's club went 6-14 overall last year.
Gonzaga has a record of 5-3 this season to date. Last week (Feb. 25), the Bulldogs were listed in the ITA rankings for the first time in program history, debuting at No. 72 in the nation on that list. Gonzaga has won four-straight matches, having defeated No. 65 San Diego, Utah State, Seattle and Northern Arizona before heading to California. The Zags are scheduled to play matches vs. URI (March 10) and Penn (March 11) before facing the Falcons on Thursday. The Bulldogs of coach D.J. Gurule went 9-13 last season.
The Falcons have never met either Rhode Island or Gonzaga in women's tennis.
Following this weekend's matches, the Falcons will return to Ohio to prepare for the Mid-American Conference opener. The Brown and Orange will host Western Michigan on Saturday, March 22.