Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Arkansas women's tennis player Yang Pang, a freshman from Nanjing, China, was named SEC Freshman of the Week in recognition of her play last weekend in the first two SEC matches of the season.
Pang has had a breakout freshman season for the Razorbacks, and continued her strong play in leading Arkansas to a 4-3 defeat of Kentucky and in a close 4-3 loss to Vanderbilt. Pang was 2-0 in singles, defeating two ranked opponents. Against Kentucky, she dropped the first set against No. 51 Nadia Ravita, but rallied back for a three-set victory that broke a 3-3 deadlock and clinched Arkansas' first conference win of the season. Pang's victory also extended Arkansas' winning streak over Kentucky to six straight matches. She also helped Arkansas clinch the doubles point with a 9-8 victory playing alongside fellow freshman Brittany Huxley. Against Vanderbilt, she defeated No. 60 Lauren Mira in straight sets, improving her singles record to 2-0 in SEC play.
"Weekly awards in the SEC are extremely difficult to come by," Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. "It's a huge compliment to Nicky to be recognized during her very first week of SEC competition. I doubt any freshman in the conference has had a bigger impact on their team's season that she has had for us so far."
Pang has played the entire season at No. 1 singles against strong competition, and now has three wins over ranked opponents in the spring after also defeated three ranked opponents during fall competition. She is 5-5 in singles during dual matches, and 11-9 overall in her Razorback career. Playing with Huxley in doubles, Pang is 6-3 this season. She is the first Razorback to be recognized for a weekly honor since Jade Frampton was named SEC Freshman of the Week on March. 2, 2011.
Arkansas is on the road this week for their first two conference matches this season away from Billingsley Tennis Center. The Razorbacks will face Alabama on Friday at 3 p.m. and then take on Auburn on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Results for Yang Pang last week:
3/1 vs. No. 51 Nadia Ravita (UK) W 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4
3/3 vs. No. 60 Lauren Mira (VU) W 6-3, 6-3
3/1 vs. Stiles/Lewis (UK) W 9-8 (3), 6-4
3/3 vs. Sellyn/Altick (VU) L 4-8