Women's Tennis Opens NCAA Tournament with Demon Deacons

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PHILADELPHIA – The Ivy League Champion women’s tennis team will travel to Williamsburg, Va. this weekend to take part in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Penn’s first opponent is Wake Forest’s Demon Deacons. The 14-7 Deacons were ranked No. 19 in the ITA’s most recent poll, while the 17-4 Quakers came in at No. 51. Penn earned an automatic bid to the tournament when they won the Ivy League title, finishing the season a perfect 7-0 in the Ancient Eight.

Scouting the Demon Deacons

The Deacons are led by junior All-ACC selection Alexandra Hirsch, who is ranked No. 64 in the nation in singles. Sophomore Christian Tara and senior Ashlee Davis are also in the top 125. Hirsch and Davis are ranked No. 27 in doubles, and recently earned a bid to the NCAA tournament. Sophomore Ana Jerman and freshman Sasha Kulikova pair up for a No. 54 ranking in doubles. Kulikova has also been a strong performer for the Deacons in singles, as she is 16-3 this spring, playing at Nos. 3 and 4.

History

This is the first time that Penn and Wake Forest will meet on the courts.

Familiar Face

Some of the Quakers will be seeing a familiar face on the courts tomorrow. Wake Forest’s head coach, Chad Skorupka spent four years as the head coach for the Yale Bulldogs, including the 2000 and 2001 seasons, when head coach Michael Dowd and his Penn team won back-to-back Ivy League titles.

All-Ivy Honors

The Penn women’s tennis was the team with the most All-Ivy honorees in the league this year, according to the end of season honors released by the Ivy League Tuesday.

The Ivy League Champion Quakers had three first-team All-Ivy selections, out of six possible spots. And freshman Ekaterina Kosminskaya was unanimously voted both Player and Rookie of the year. It is only the third time in league history that a player has garnered both honors, and the second time in Quaker tennis history; in 2001, Penn’s Sanela Konovac was honored with both Player and Rookie of the Year honors.

Kosminskaya went unbeaten at No. 1 singles in Ivy play this year, winning all seven matches without ever dropping a set. She was 16-3 on the season, with all three losses coming to ranked opponents.

She was joined on the first team by two junior captains, Yulia Rivelis, a unanimous selection, and Julia Koulbitskaya. The three were a combined 19-1 in Ivy League play this season, leading a strong Red and Blue squad to a 7-0 Ivy season..

Kosminskaya was the only player to earn first-team honors in both singles and doubles, as she and sophomore Lenka Snajdrova were unanimously selected first-team All-Ivy for doubles. They went 6-0 in their Ivy season this spring.

Double Trouble

Freshmen Maria Anismova and Ekaterina Kosminskaya selected to play in the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. They were one of 32 doubles teams selected to compete.

Automatic qualification into the championships is awarded to any conference with one or more doubles team ranked in the ITA Top 60 for doubles. Anismova and Kosminskaya were the only Ivy doubles team ranked on the women’s side, coming in at No. 59. They are the first doubles pair in Penn women's tennis history to be selected for the NCAA tournament.

Last Year

Last season, the Quakers earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, after finishing their Ivy season 6-1. In the first round, the No. 45 Red and Blue upset No. 30 Tennessee, but fell to Georgia Tech in the second round.

In Other NCAA Action

Also facing off in the first round on Friday will be host William and Mary (20-2) and Richmond (9-7) at 3 p.m. The Tribe won an automatic bid after winning the Colonial Athletic Association title, while Richmond defeated Temple to claim the Atlantic 10 conference for the automatic bid.

The winners of each match will meet in the second round on Saturday, May 12 at 1 p.m.

Tickets for the event will be $5 for Adults and $3 for student from participating schools with a valid ID. For more information on tickets, contact the W&M ticket office at (757) 221-3340.

NCAA Regional Schedule

Friday, May 11
12 p.m. - Wake Forest vs. Penn
3 p.m. - #15 William and Mary vs. Richmond

Saturday, May 12
1 p.m. - Winner of Wake Forest/Penn vs. Winner of #15 W&M/Richmond