2014 ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship begins Friday in Charlottesville
No. 3 ranked North Carolina eyes back-to-back titles
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (Feb. 5) - The field of 16 is set for the 2014 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship. The University of Virginia will serve as the host institution of the 27th annual championship at the Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Virginia from February 7-10.
An impressive 14 of the 15 No. 1 seeds participating in the sixth annual ITA Kick-Off Weekend were able to advance to Charlottesville, as the highest ranked team in the ITA Division I Women's Team Rankings won all 15 events. Florida, Texas A&M, North Carolina, Georgia, USC, UCLA, Miami (FL), Cal, Michigan, Alabama, Northwestern, Clemson, Duke and Texas managed to fend off the competition; but Nebraska was not as fortunate. Vanderbilt emerged from the Cornhuskers site as the No. 3 seed to earn the right to compete for the prestigious national title.
A total of five conferences will be represented at this year's championship, with the ACC and SEC each placing five teams in the draw, while the Pac-12 is sending 3 teams. The Big 10 will have two squads in the field of 16, and the Big 12 has one team. For the complete draw, click HERE.
|University of North Carolina, defending champions|
Below is a closer look at the 16 teams in the hunt for the 2014 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship crown.
Clemson, ranked No. 13, returns all but one letter winner from a team that advanced to the NCAA round of 16, including three players ranked in the top 75 of the ITA rankings. No. 44 Beatrice Gumulya is 9-4 this season, while her teammates No. 51 Romy Koelzer and No. 74 Yana Koroleva (who was ranked No. 7 in the ITA Preseason Rankings) are both off to 10-4 starts. The Tigers, who are 4-1 this year with ranked wins over No. 26 Tennessee and No. 55 Fresno State at ITA Kick-Off Weekend, will kick off their title attempt against Cal.
The Duke Blue Devils are the No. 10 ranked team in the ITA Women's Team Rankings this week and have earned the seventh seed. The Blue Devils reached the title match of the ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship in 2012 and will look to return to the final, and the return of Beatrice Capra is a boost. No. 3 Capra is 16-2 this season and was the singles consolation winner at the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. Duke has two other singles players in the Top 50 in No. 45 Ester Goldfeld and No. 49 Hanna Mar. In doubles, Goldfeld and partner Annie Mulholland are ranked No. 14 in the ITA Doubles Rankings and they have wins over Tar Heel duos No. 10 Whitney Kay and Caroline Price and No. 12 Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter. Duke is set to take on Michigan in the opening round.
The Miami Hurricanes come into the 2014 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship ranked No. 9 in the ITA Women's Team Rankings. The Hurricane squad, which went 23-6 last season, is unchanged from last year, and is led by No. 32 Stephanie Wagner and No. 64 Kelsey Laurente. Wagner boasts a 16-3 record so far this year, while Laurente was 12-5. The Hurricanes' top-ranked doubles team is the No. 29 doubles team of Monique Albuquerque and Clementina Riobueno, who are 14-3 this season. Miami (Fla.) has drawn the third-seeded Georgia Bulldogs in the first round.
Northwestern enters the championship as the No. 16 team in the ITA Women's Team Rankings. In 2013, the Wildcats upset No. 7 seed Alabama in the first round of the National Team Indoors and they'll try to pull another big win this year. The Wildcats are led by returning top player Veronica Corning (12-3 this season) and No. 105 Belinda Niu, who has a 10-3 record. Corning and Alicia Barnett are the No. 35 ranked doubles team following their 11-4 season start. The Wildcats will play the eighth seeds, Texas A&M, on the opening day.
2013 NCAA runner-up Texas A&M is the No. 7 ranked team in the country and the eighth seed in this championship, and they are coming off a 4-3 upset win over North Carolina on Tuesday night, when they came back from a 1-3 deficit. The Aggies are led by No. 14 Cristina Stancu who is also part of the Aggies' No. 21 ranked doubles duo with Stefania Hristov. Stancu won the USTA/ITA Texas Regional Championships and made the semifinals in last fall's Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships. Stancu and Hristov were runners-up in the doubles at the Regionals, and competed in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. Texas A&M will play Northwestern in its first match.
The UCLA Bruins won the title in 2012 and they'll look to retake their crown this year. UCLA was narrowly defeated by North Carolina in the 2013 Women's Team Indoors final and the Bruins are currently ranked No. 5 in the ITA Women's Team Rankings and are the fourth seed. The strong Bruins squad will again be led by No. 1 Robin Anderson, runner up in both the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships and USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. She's joined in the top 10 by Chanelle Van Nguyen (No. 9), who won the singles title at the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championships. The Bruins have two other players in the ITA Singles Top 40, freshman Jennifer Brady (No. 24) and sophomore Kyle McPhillips (No. 37). Anderson is also part of the No. 1 doubles team in the country with Brady, and the two won the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships title and boast a 13-1 record.The Bruins will face Texas in the first round.
The USC Trojans are currently ranked No. 6 in the ITA Women's Team Rankings and have been awarded the fifth seed. The No. 6 Trojans feature preseason No. 1 Sabrina Santamaria (now at No. 13), who looks to be back on track after injuries affected her during the fall. She and partner Kaitlyn Christian (No. 33) are multiple major winners, and the formidable Trojans also have a pair of top 10 doubles teams in No. 3 Brynn Boren and Zoe Katz plus No. 7 Giuliana Olmos and Zoe Scandalis. Boren and Katz were consolation winners of the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. The Trojans have never made a final of the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship. The Women of Troy are up against Alabama in the opening round of play.
The Vanderbilt Commodores enter the National Indoors ranked No. 15 in the ITA Women's Team Rankings. The team pulled out an exciting 4-3 win over No. 20 Georgia Tech in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to advance to its second-straight ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship, with Georgina Sellyn winning the final point for the Commodores, winning her singles match in a third set supertiebreaker. Sellyn is the top-ranked Commodore at No. 48 and she won the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships in the fall. Sydney Campbell, who plays No. 1 for Vanderbilt, is ranked No. 78 nationally, and she pairs with Ashleigh Antal as the No. 28 doubles teams in the nation. The Commodores face North Carolina, the second seeds, in their first match of the championship.
For complete coverage of the 2014 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship, including access to draws, live scores and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, or like the ITA Facebook page for updates and news from Charlottesville. Use the hashtag #ITAIndoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term " ITAIndoors" to find others who are tweeting about the 2014 ITA Women's National Team Indoor Championship, Feb. 7-10.
About the ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship
The ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship is held annually each February and has been held since 1988. The tournament features 16 participating teams: the 15 schools who won both of their matches during the 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend and the host site school. The tournament is held over four days, and begins on Friday with first round play, followed by quarterfinals on Saturday, semifinals on Sunday and the final on Monday.