The University of Maryland women’s tennis team begins its fall season with a trip to Philadelphia for the Cissie Leary Tournament this weekend. Play starts Friday at the Hamlin Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Terrapins will compete in six tournaments this fall. The slate is comprised of non-team competitions that will help prepare the Terps for the spring dual match season.
“The fall season is about building confidence and learning about each other,” head coach Daria Panova said. “It’s seeing where we can go in the spring. It’s like a trial run.”
Panova will return four players from a team that went 6-16 last season. Senior Welma Luus, who is currently playing for the field hockey team, will be the Terps’ lone upperclassman. Sophomores Olga Gaistruk, Nataliya Bredikhina and Olga Bredikhina will be playing their first full seasons at Maryland after joining the team last spring.
The second-year head coach will also add five freshmen to the squad and is excited to infuse her team with more talent.
“I can honestly say all four of them are better than I expected them to be. I expected them to be good, but they’re sneaky good. They’re so confident.”
In addition, Nicole Briceno-Garzon joins the Terps after one year as an assistant at Albany. Briceno-Garzon was a successful collegiate player for SMU and Alabama and was the 2008 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year.
“Nicole is extremely energetic,” Panova said. “She’s completely on the same page with me. We have different styles of tennis and my deficiencies are essentially her strengths.”
For updates on Maryland tennis, follow the team on Twitter at @TerpTennis.
The Freshmen File
- Hometown: Denver, CO
- Also considered: Columbia University, University of Nebraska
- Fun Fact: Spent the last two years training at a tennis academy in Florida.
- Panova on Hovsepyan: “Kristina’s a lefty and has some of the best hands I’ve ever seen from a freshman.”
- Hometown: Annapolis, MD
- Also Considered: Towson, William & Mary, Quinnipiac, Navy, Emory
- Fun Fact: Grandfather played tennis for Maryland.
- Panova on Gaudreault: “Olivia is getting better everyday. She’s been trying so hard. Right from the get go she’s been cheering and supporting her teammates. She might be the best freshman I’ve ever seen at that.”
- Hometown: Zilina, Slovakia
- Fun Fact: Won the Slovakia U-18 doubles national championship
- Panova on Stanova: “Alex has great hands. She has no deficiencies. She’s still learning, but she’s a great player. Every single day she gets better and better.”
- Hometown: Le Rheu, France
- Fun Fact: Has played at Roland Garros, home of the French Open.
- Panova on Thebault: “She has a big serve and a big forehand. She’s tall and aggressive, but she’s extremely smart on the court.”