SMU tennis player ranked No. 2 in nation

DALLAS (SMU) — Junior Marta Lesniak opens the spring ranked No. 2 nationally in women’s tennis, as announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) this week. That is the highest individual ranking in SMU history. Lesniak and fellow junior Heather Steinbauer also rank No. 29 nationally in doubles. The SMU women’s tennis team will open the 2010 spring season ranked No. 27 in the nation.

“Marta had an outstanding fall season and has worked really hard to earn this ranking,” says fifth-year head coach Lauren Longbotham Mesiner. “We are excited to start the dual season, and I believe her leadership and drive will help this team accomplish its goals.”

The Mustangs have advance to the second round of the last two NCAA Championships and finished in the top-30 each of those seasons. In 2009, SMU also won the Conference USA Championship and finished with the No. 23 ranking. That was the first top-30 finish for SMU since 1989.

Lesniak is 18-3 on the season, including a 9-2 record against ranked opponents. Her fall successes included winning the consolation singles at the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, advancing to the quarterfinal round of the ITA All-American Tennis Championships, and being named Conference USA Player of the Month three times. The No. 2 ranking is the highest for a Mustang since Jennifer Santrock finished third in 1989.

In doubles, Lesniak and Steinbauer went 8-2. The duo reached the doubles title match at the ITA Regional and advanced to the qualifying round of 16 at the ITA All-American.

The Mustangs begin the 2011 dual match season by hosting UT-Pan American at the Turpin Tennis Stadium on January 21 at 2 p.m. SMU then hosts Louisiana-Monroe on Jan. 22 and UTSA on Jan. 23.