Feb. 2, 2005
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The No. 10 Tulane women's tennis team opens play in the 2005 USTA/ITA Women's Tennis National Indoor Championship on Thursday, Feb. 3, when the Green Wave take on No. 15 North Carolina at 3 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin's A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
One of the nation's premier indoor tournaments, the WTNIC field boasts eight of the nation's Top 10 teams, including defending national champion and last year's winner, No. 1 Stanford. Rounding out the field are Clemson, UCLA, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Southern California, Duke, Washington, Miami, Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico, Harvard and Wisconsin. After No. 11 Texas slipped past the Wave, 4-3, on Saturday, Tulane heads into the tournament with a mark of 2-1 on the young season.
"I was disappointed with Saturday's outcome, but was pleased with the effort," head coach David Schumacher said. "I am hopeful that we will make a surge this weekend. The most unifying factor of our team is the desire to win and achieve its highest ranking of the season, and to take it on to the next level."
The 2005 Green Wave lineup features five individuals and two doubles teams ranked amongst the nation's best. Senior Nancy Kockott holds the No. 51 spot , Darya Ivanov is ranked No. 64, while two-time Conference USA Player of the Year and All-American Jenny Kuehn is No. 81. Sophomore Dorottya Magas and senior Maria Ivanov find themselves ranked 106th and 112th, respectively. On the doubles chart, the pair of Kockott and All-American Julie Smekodub earned the No. 26 spot, and the Ivanov sister duo came in 49th.
First-round play begins Thursday, with the seventh-seeded Green Wave drawing unseeded North Carolina. The Tar Heels enter the tournament with a record of 4-0, after picking up a convincing 6-1 win over No. 29 Indiana on Sunday. North Carolina is led by Aniela Mjzis and Kendall Cline, who are ranked No. 26 and No. 37, respectively, by the ITA. Together the two seniors form the No. 14 doubles team in the nation.
"North Carolina has two very decisive wins over very good teams in Indiana and Tennessee," Schumacher said. "They have two very strong ranked players. They are a team very similar to ours, with quality players up and down the lineup."
The winner of the Tulane/North Carolina match advances to face the winner of Thursday afternoon's match between Kentucky and second-seeded Clemson at 3 p.m. on Friday.
"Seedings and rankings aren't really indicative of a team's strength," Schumacher said. "If all of our girls play good tennis at the same time, we will have a chance against anyone."
Following the WTNIC, Tulane hosts No. 39 Arizona, Saturday, Feb. 12, at Goldring Tennis Center.