Jan. 25, 2013
New Orleans - The 55th-ranked Tulane women's tennis squad will open the 2013 season as a participant in the prestigious fifth annual Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kickoff Weekend, January 25-28, and will compete at the Marks Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern California in a field featuring No. 4 USC, No. 67 UC Irvine and Akron.
Tulane will play its first match of the year on Saturday against UC Irvine at 11 a.m. CST and will take on either USC or Akron on Sunday.
Sixty schools will be competing across the country for the 15 vacant spots at the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship, to be hosted next month by the University of Virginia. Tulane joins Tulsa, Memphis and Rice as the lone representatives from Conference USA.
The format features 15 universities hosting ITA Kick-Off Weekend sites that were designated as hosts in order of their year-end 2012 ITA National Team ranking. Three visiting schools will travel to each host site for a four-team playoff. Host school and No. 1 seed, USC, will meet the No. 4 seed (Akron) at 2 p.m. CST on Saturday, while the No. 2 seed (Tulane) will play the No. 3 seed (UC Irvine). The winners will come back the following day to play for a berth in the 2013 ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship.
"The ITA Kickoff Weekend is definitely special for us," Tulane head coach Terri Sisk said. "This is the first year we have been invited to play in this event because we are nationally ranked so that in itself is exciting. We are looking forward to playing UC Irvine, as they also have a solid program and will most definitely push us from beginning to end.
"For so long I have really preached about the process of building a program to the team and making sure the foundation is sturdy enough to handle any and all adversity. So with that being said, we realize we have our hands full this weekend but are very much capable of handling this test by competing hard and refusing to give up."
According to the ITA, Tulane could be a potential darkhorse and states the program has been steadily improving each year since it's re-start in 2008.
Tulane's 2013 line-up will feature No. 118 ranked Klara Vyskocilova, senior Emma Levy, a three-time All-Conference USA second team performer who won 26 single matches last season, junior Jenny Hois, freshman Ipek Birol, who registered a 6-1 mark this past fall, senior Caroline Thornton, who was named to the All C-USA third team a year ago, and senior Caroline Magnusson, an All-Louisiana selection who led the team with 30 victories a year ago.
In doubles action, Tulane will go with Vyskocilova and Birol, Magnusson and Thornton, which teamed up to register a team-best 28-4 record last season, and Levy and Hois.
The Green Wave returns seven letterwinners from last year's squad that posted a 19-6 overall record and completed the season ranked No. 58 nationally, and features four newcomers. Last season, TU was ranked for 15 straight weeks and advanced to the semifinals of the C-USA Championships.
Last weekend at a preseason event, the Clemson Winter Indoor Classic, the Wave combined for a 20-6 overall singles and doubles record and brought home five flight championships.
For complete coverage of the 2013 ITA Kick-Off Weekend please visit the official ITA (www.itatennis.com). Follow the Green Wave (@GreenWaveWTenn) and the ITA on Twitter, (@ITAtennis), for updates and news from the weekend's events. Use the hashtag #ITAKickOff for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "ITAKickOff" to find others who are tweeting from across the nation about ITA Kick-Off Weekend, Jan. 25-28.
SATURDAY (Jan. 26)
Tulane vs. UC Irvine @ 11 a.m. CST
USC vs. Akron @ 2 p.m. CST
SUNDAY (Jan. 27)
Consolation match @ 12 p.m. CST
Championship match @ 3 p.m. CST