CHARLESTON, S.C. - The College of Charleston women's tennis team gets ready to take on No. 13-seeded and host Tennessee in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships to be held on Saturday, May 14, at the Barksdale Tennis Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
First serve between CofC (21-7) and the Lady Vols (19-7) is set for noon (ET) and live scoring of the match will be available at www.utladyvols.com or by CLICKING HERE. The winner will advance to the second round against Vanderbilt (15-8) or Winthrop (17-11) on Sunday, May 15, at noon (ET).
The Cougars, ranked No. 74 in the latest Campbell/ITA Collegiate Team Rankings, are currently on a 14-match win streak which is the sixth-longest in the nation behind top-seeded and second-ranked Stanford (23), No. 22-ranked Tulsa (20), IPFW (17), fifth-seeded and seventh-ranked Baylor (15) and second-seeded and top-ranked Florida (15). CofC is also one of 17 schools in the 64-team tournament field with 20-or-more wins on the season.
"It was exciting to see where we would be going, but for the last several days, we have been focused on preparation and setting up a game plan to get ready to battle a very good team in Tennessee," CofC Director of Tennis Angelo Anastopoulo said. "We have been trying to increase our endurance and we will have to be at our best to beat Tennessee. I think our senior leadership has helped instill in our team, a competitive edge and fight, we will need to be successful this weekend."
The Cougars will use the veteran singles lineup of sophomore Christin Newman (Greensboro, N.C.) at No. 1, senior Emma Hayman (Wanganui, New Zealand) at No. 2, junior Caroline Newman (Greensboro, N.C.) at No. 3, senior Kinsey Casey (Alpharetta, Ga.) at No. 4, junior Katie Lee (Brisbane, Australia) at No. 5, freshman Kelly Kambourelis (Melbourne, Fla.) at No. 6 and senior Keely Mulligan (Miami, Fla.) as the first alternate.
In doubles, Hayman and sophomore Irene Viana (Paris, France) will pair up at the No. 1 line followed by Casey and Lee at No. 2 and Christin Newman and Kambourelis at No. 3.
"Everyone is really excited about competing this weekend," Christin Newman said. "It's been an intense last few days of practice as we have stepped it up in preparation for Tennessee. I'm really looking forward to the match."
The winner of each four-team tournament site will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 hosted by Stanford on May 20-24 at the Taube Family Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif.
The teams will play a single-elimination tournament at 16 first-and second-round sites (four teams at each site) and the final site (16-team bracket) to determine the national champion. The matches shall be regulation dual matches with three (3) eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six (6) singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight games all in doubles and at six games all in singles.
"People in the tennis community know about the College of Charleston," said freshman Jamie Harrell, a local product out of Ashley Hall. "Our past year's of success and experience gives us confidence going into this match. We hope all of the hard work we have done this season will pay off."
COUGARS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT PLAY
CofC is 0-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has never advanced past the first round. All four of its appearances have been under Coach Anastopoulo. The Cougars lost at North Carolina (L, 0-4) in 2003, at No. 15-seeded Florida (L, 1-4) in 2009 and at ninth-seeded Clemson (L, 0-4) in 2010. CofC is one of 31 automatic qualifiers in the bracket having won the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles three years in a row.
Current Tennessee Women's Athletic Director Joan Cronan previously served as the College of Charleston Women's Athletic Director, women's tennis coach, women's volleyball coach and women's basketball coach for 10 years from 1974-83. She was inducted into the CofC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990. Under Cronan, CofC was selected as the No. 1 women's athletics program in the country in 1980 by the American Women's Sports Foundation. Junior Katie Lee is a transfer from UT having competed for the Lady Vols in fall tournament play in 2009 as a sophomore and in spring dual matches in singles and doubles as a freshman.
CofC leads 1-0 in the all-time series with Tennessee. Both teams last met 33 years ago in the program's AIAW era which resulted in a 6-3 victory in favor of the Cougars on April 14, 1978. Joan Cronan was the head coach at the time and the 1978 squad was comprised of former CofC players Diane Fishburne, Pam Jordan, Ali Wall, Maggie Hastings, Colleen O'Brien and Coach Anastopoulo's sister, Patti.