LEWISBURG, Pa. – After earning an exciting, 4-0 win over Colgate at home last weekend, the Bucknell women’s tennis team has spent the week gearing up for a trio of Patriot League games that will play a big part in determining its seed for next week’s conference tournament. The Bison are slated to play at Army at 11 a.m. on Saturday and at Lafayette at 2 p.m. on Sunday, before returning to Lewisburg on Monday for a 3 p.m. contest against Lehigh.
Last weekend’s win lifted Bucknell to 5-6 overall and 2-1 in Patriot League play, a mark which places the Bison fourth in the conference. In addition, the victory put head women’s tennis coach Rebecca Helt just one win shy of tying the program’s career record for wins by a coach. Helt currently holds a 180-168 record in her 17th season with the Bison, and could tie or surpass the 181 wins compiled by Hall-of-Famer Rose Ewan this weekend.
Senior Elena Vidrascu has spent most of the season in the No. 1 singles spot, and currently holds a 5-5 mark in that role. Her two wins last weekend improved her career record to 113-102, ranking her ninth on the program’s list of all-time victories. Vidrascu has combined with sophomore Maria Cioffi for a 5-3 record at No. 1 doubles, but Cioffi has also been outstanding at the No. 2 singles spot. She is currently in the midst of a six-game winning streak and has compiled a 16-6 singles record this season, including an 8-2 mark at No. 2 singles.
Bucknell and Army will meet for the 35th time on Saturday, but the Bison have triumphed over the Black Knights just four times in series history. Army is currently 20-2 overall this season and a perfect 6-0 in Patriot League play, and has won each of its last four outings, most recently trumping both Loyola and Navy. When the two teams met in 2013, Army walked away with a 7-0 win to complete a perfect regular season.
The Bison have had more success against the Leopards, playing to a 23-17-1 record since their first meeting in 1978. Lafayette is 4-5 overall and 1-4 in league play, dropping a 6-1 decision to Lehigh in its last outing. The Bison played to a 6-1 win over the Leopards when the two teams met last season, taking the doubles point and wins at 2-6 singles to clinch the victory.
After a busy weekend, the Bison will return home on Monday to conclude their Patriot League dual season on the Bucknell Tennis Courts. The team holds a slim advantage in the all-time series with the Mountain Hawks, having won 24 of their 47 matches since 1977, and the Bison were victorious last year, taking a 5-2 win. Lehigh is currently 6-9 overall with a 1-2 conference record, and their sole Patriot League win came in the form of a 6-1 victory over Lafayette.
Bucknell is also set to host the women’s tennis Patriot League Tournament this year, with action scheduled to begin on the Bucknell Tennis Courts on Thursday, April 17 and conclude on Sunday, April 20.