Women's Tennis All Set for a Taste of the South

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PHILADELPHIA - When the University of Pennsylvania women’s tennis team gathered to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show they had to wait patiently, or impatiently depending on who you asked. The Quakers were not announced until the second segment of the telecast, but it was well worth the wait as they found out they were headed to Atlanta.

Going to the ATL. Penn is headed to Atlanta, Ga. where matches will take place at the Bill Moore Tennis Center on Friday (May 12) and Saturday (May 13).

The Matchup. Penn will be playing the No. 30 ranked University of Tennessee after losing to Florida in the SEC semifinal, 4-0. The Lady Vols finished the regular season 12-12, including a 6-5 SEC record, finishing fifth in the Eastern Division.

This is Penn. Penn finished second in the Ivy League and earned an at-large bid for the first time since 2003. This marks the Quakers’ fourth tournament appearance in the past six years. The Red and Blue’s head coach is Michael Dowd, in his 10th year.

The Series with Tennessee

• Penn and Tennessee are meeting for just the second time in history; the Quakers defeated the Lady Vols 7-2 on March 13, 1987 in Hilton Head, S.C.

• These two teams were scheduled to meet in 1986, but the match was rained out.

Penn vs. Georgia Tech

• Should Penn meet Georgia Tech in the second round, it will be the second meeting in history: The Yellow Jackets defeated the Red and Blue 9-0 on Feb. 26, 2000.

Penn vs. Southeast Louisiana

• Should Penn meet Southeast Louisiana in the second round, it will be the first meeting in history.

Penn’s NCAA History

• Penn is making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and its fourth in the past six years.

• Penn is 2-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

• Four of Penn’s five NCAA Tournament appearances have been under head coach Michael Dowd.

• Penn’s last NCAA Tournament win came on May 10, 2002, a 4-0 win over Richmond in the first round.

• Penn has advanced to the second round on one other occasion; in 2001, the Quakers defeated Pepperdine 4-3 in the first round, but fell to Baylor 4-3 the next day.

Notes About Nothing

• Penn began the season ranked No. 56 in the FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings. The Quakers dropped as low as No. 63 but skyrocketed to No. 41 after defeating then No. 30 Arizona.

• Since defeating the Wildcats on March 8, Penn has maintained a ranking in the low 40s .

• Penn played eight teams that made the tournament. The Quakers went 2-5 with one unfinished match against those opponents.

• Julia Koulbitskaya has won four of her last five matches and six of her final eight.

• Freshman Alexis Plukas strung together five straight victories from March 11-Apr. 8.

• Caroline Stanislawski won eight consecutive matches to end the regular season, including a perfect 7-0 in Ivy League matches.

• Penn is 12-4 this season when winning the doubles point.

• Penn shuffled its doubles teams on March 5; since then the Quakers have combined to go 25-8. Prior to that, they were 7-10.

• Koulbitskaya and Yulia Rivelis teamed up on March 5 and defeated their opponents from UC Irvine, 8-5. They went on to win their first three matches together and an 9-2 record.

• In doubles, Stanislawski and Michelle Mitchell have won three straight matches. However, their longest winning streak is four, which lasted from March 8-Apr. 7.

• Koulbitskaya and Rivelis finished the season winning three straight matches.

• Raluca Ciochina and Plukas won consecutive matches to end the regular season. Their longest win streak is four (March 18-Apr. 8).

• The last time Penn was in the NCAA Tournament, Stanislawski and Ciochina were freshmen. They both picked up straight-set wins in singles over South Carolina. Ciochina and Nikki Ptak lost 8-5 at No. 3 doubles to the Gamecocks.

The Season In Review...
• In Penn’s most recent match, against Columbia (4/23), the Quakers won the doubles point, but lost at the top-three position in singles. The Quakers sured up the 4-3 win with victories at the Nos. 3-6 position in singles.

• In a 6-1 win over Cornell (4/21), Raluca Ciochina and Caroline Stanislawski won in both doubles and singles in their final match at Lott Courts.

• In Penn’s 6-1 over Dartmouth (4/15), the Quakers won all five singles matches in straight sets.

• Penn fell to No. 17 Harvard (4/14) 5-2. Julia Koulbitskaya picked up a straight set win over Elsa O’Riain. Stanislawski picked up the Quakers other point to remained undefeated in Ivy play.

• Capping off a three-match road trip to begin the Ancient Eight campaign, Penn defeated Brown (4/8) handily, 6-1. Sara Schiffman, Alexis Plukas and Koulbitskaya all won their matches in straight sets.

• Penn swept the doubles point from Yale (4/7) en route to a 5-2 victory. After losing at the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in singles, Alexis Plukas, Ciochina and Stanislawski solidifed the win picking up victories.

• At Princeton (4/1), the Quakers opened up the Ivy slate with a 6-1 win. Penn won at the Nos. 2 and 3 positions to win the doubles point. Three of the Quakers’ five singles wins went to three sets.

• Penn finished its non-league schedule with a 6-1 victory over Old Dominion (3/18) in its first home match in more than a month. After sweeping the doubles point, the Quakers won five sinlgles point in straight sets.

• In its final match on the West Coast, Penn’s contest with No. 35 Fresno State (3/11) ended prematurely at 2-2 due to rain. Plukas and Ciochina won the Quakers’ only singles matches.

• Due to rain, Penn and No. 17 Pepperdine (3/10) only played the singles point. Ciochina picked up the Quakers lone point in a 5-1 defeat.

• Penn pulled off its biggest upset of the season with a 4-3 win over then-No. 30 Arizona. Forced to play singles first again, the Quakers won three singles matches. Koulbitskaya and Rivelis and Michelle Mitchell and Stanislawski both won 8-4 in doubles to pull out the win.

• In its first of five matches on the West Coast, Penn fell to No. 68 UC Irvine (3/5), 4-3. The Quakers changed the doubles lineup and it paid off, as they won the point. Yulia Rivelis and Mitchell picked up the Quakers’ only wins in singles.

• Penn lost to No. 34 Maryland (2/25) 5-2 The Quakers could only manage wins at No. 3 doubles, No. 1 and 6 singles.

• Penn salvaged its weekend trip with a 6-1 win over Richmond (2/19). Plukas and Rivelis won 8-6 at No. 1 doubles to clinch the doubles point. The Quakers went on to win four of five singles points in straight sets.

• In its first match of the season against a team ranked higher than them, Penn lost to No. 34 Virginia Commonwealth (2/18), 4-0. After losing the doubles point, the Quakers would look for revenge in singles, but would not find any. The Rams stifled Penn, winning three matches in straight sets. Due to time constraints, the match was stopped once VCU clinched
their fourth point.

• With a 4-3 win over then No. 71 Virginia (2/12), Penn embarked on eight straight matches against ranked opponents. After losing the doubles point, the Quakers had their work cut out for them in singles. Rivelis, Koulbitskaya, Plukas and Mitchell all prevailed to help Penn to victory.

• Penn defeated its commonwealth neighbor, Penn State, 5-2. After Koulbitskaya and Mitchell won at No. 2 doubles, they each picked up wins in singles.

• Penn opened up the 2006 campaign with a 7-0 win over city-rival Temple. The Quakers won one singles point and two doubles matches by defeault.