TCU Faces Familiar Foe in Return to NCAA Tournament
May 10, 2012
FORT WORTH – After a one-year hiatus, TCU's women's tennis team returns to the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships on Friday in first-round action against No. 30-ranked South Carolina. First serve is set for 9 a.m. CDT from Duke's Ambler Tennis Stadium.
The 32nd-ranked Horned Frogs (18-5) are winners of 11 in a row and earned an automatic bid to the field of 64 after winning the Mountain West Women's Tennis Championship a week ago. USC is 15-8 this season and was an at-large selection to the NCAA field out of the Southeastern Conference.
TCU is making its 14th appearance all-time in the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships. In 2010, TCU's last trip to the NCAA tourney, it and South Carolina faced in the first round. After missing the field a year ago, TCU returns to the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.
In singles play, freshman Stefanie Tan is 13-8 this spring and ranked No. 87 in the ITA singles rankings. Simona Parajova is 13-6, while Federica Denti is 15-5. Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith are ranked 42nd in doubles and hold an 11-3 mark this spring. Gaby Mastromarino and Parjaova are 16-1 this season.
ABOUT THE DUKE REGIONAL
TCU enters play at the Duke Regional in Durham, N.C., as the No. 3 seed in the four-team bracket. Its opponent, the Gamecocks, are the No. 2 seed. Host Duke (25-2) is the top seed in its regional and the No. 3 overall national seed. Duke faces Winthrop (15-10), the No. 4 seed at 1 p.m. CDT on Friday.
The winners of the first round matches meet Saturday at 2 p.m. CDT with the champion of the Duke Regional advancing to the Sweet 16 at Georgia on May 17. Following the conclusion of the NCAA team championships, the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be held at Georgia.
TCU ALL-TIME VERSUS THE DUKE REGIONAL
Friday's meeting will the 19th all-time between the two schools. TCU trails 3-15 in the series, with USC claiming a 4-2 win in the 2010 NCAAs. TCU and Duke have met just once with the Horned Frogs picking up a win in 1985, while the Frogs have never squared off with Winthrop.
TCU ALL-TIME AT THE NCAAS
The Horned Frogs are making their 14th appearance all-time as a team at the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships, including their fourth in Dave Borelli's six years at the helm of the program. TCU is 5-13 in 18 matches at the NCAAs.
TCU's best all-time showing came in 2006 when it advanced to the Sweet 16 and closed the year ranked No. 15 in the country. The Frogs have been to the second round on five occasions.
YOUNG, YET EXPERIENCED
Despite having only one senior on its roster, TCU features three players with NCAA Championships experience under their belts. Senior Gaby Mastromarino was on TCU tournament teams in 2009 and 2010, including winning TCU's lone singles match against the Gamecocks in 2010.
While at Arkansas, junior Kelsey Sundaram competed in the 2010 NCAA Women's Tennis Championship and sophomore Millie Nichols competed in the field of 64 while at Tennessee.
Current South Carolina athletics director Eric Hyman was the AD at TCU when Dave Borelli was hired as the head women's tennis coach in 2002. Marcy Girton, now a senior associate athletics director at South Carolina, was the Senior Woman Administrator at TCU when Borelli was first with the women's squad.
MOUNTAIN WEST SWEEP
For only the second time in program history, TCU won both the Mountain West regular season championship, as well as the Mountain West postseason tournament. It also accomplished the feat in 2006.
TCU, which is leaving for the Big 12 effective July 1, 2012, won four regular season crowns and four MW tournaments in its six years as a league member.
GEORGIA ON MY MIND
TCU's No. 1 doubles duo of Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith has been selected for the NCAA Doubles Championship after finishing as the highest-ranked tandem in the Mountain West. At No. 49 in the country, Nichols and Smith went 19-6 overall and 11-3 during the spring.
In the fall, the TCU pair claimed the USTA/ITA Texas Regional Championship to advance to the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The NCAA doubles championships begin May 23 at Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
IT'S JUST ONE, BUT IT'S A BIG ONE
Anchored by Nichols and Smith at No. 1 doubles, TCU is 18-5 this season during the doubles portion of the match. When TCU wins the doubles point, it is 17-1 in those matches. During its 11-match winning streak, TCU has won the doubles point each time.
THEY'LL BE BACK
With only one senior on the roster, the future is bright as TCU makes its move to the Big 12. The top five in its singles lineup return next season, including freshmen Stefanie Tan and Simona Parajova at the top of the singles lineup.
TAN TABBED LEAGUE'S BEST FROSH
Freshman Stefanie Tan was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year after posting a 20-11 overall record and 13-8 mark in the spring. The 87th-ranked player in the country, Tan was the third Frog to win MW Freshman of the Year Honors.
TCU players took home multiple all-conference honors when the Mountain West announced its honorees April 26. Stefanie Tan, Simona Parajova and Olivia Smith were named to the All-Mountain West singles team, while Smith and Millie Nichols were honored on the doubles team.