COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland women’s tennis team (1-0, 0-0 B1G) will begin its road schedule on Saturday when it takes on No. 6 Pepperdine in its opening match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Terps will then face either Oregon or Rice on Sunday to conclude the event.
This prestigious event features some of the top teams in the country, with 15 sites hosting matches throughout the weekend. Host sites were selected, and the remaining teams invited to compete in the event picked their destination in a draft-like structure in June.
LAST TIME OUT
Maryland began its spring campaign with a 5-2 victory over Harvard. The win marked consecutive seasons that Maryland began its season with a win and the eighth-straight season the Terps have won their home opener.
A trio of additions to Maryland’s roster this season led the way in the win. Freshman Eva Alexandrova and Kansas State-transfer Millie Stretton both posted 2-0 records in the match. The two teamed up to win at first singles and then each claimed victories in their singles matches. Freshman Zoe Kulkarni also picked up the first victory of her career, winning her singles match against Anna Li, 6-1, 7-5.
Senior Ekaterina Tour got her final season started in dominant fashion, picking up a 6-2, 6-2 singles win for the Terrapins.
SCOUTING THE WAVES
Pepperdine will open its spring season when it takes on Maryland on Saturday. The Waves were scheduled to open their season against Hawaii, but the match was cancelled due to weather.
Pepperdine’s lineup features four ranked players, the highest being No. 28 Ashley Lahey. As a team the Waves compiled a 37-17 record between the fall season and the Freeman Memorial Tournament earlier this month.
SCOUTING THE DUCKS
Oregon has started its season off on the right foot, picking up a pair of dual wins against Portland and San Diego. The Ducks qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season and are looking for back-to-back appearances for the first time since 1999-00.
The Ducks impressed in the fall, headlined by a 22-7 overall team record at the Washington Invitational. They also feature a balanced roster, comprised of two student-athletes in each class.
SCOUTING THE OWLS
Rice picked up a 7-0 win over Lamar to begin its spring season last weekend. The Owls were strong in doubles play, taking the opening point behind two 6-0 victories.
Rice also won five-of-six singles matches in straight sets, with just one opponent reaching more than two points in a single set.
The Owls finished the 2016-17 season ranked 40th in the country, two slots behind No. 38 Oregon.
ONE LAST TOUR
Senior Ekaterina Tour is primed for a successful campaign in her final season as a Terrapin after getting her year started on the right foot with a singles win over Harvard.
The Tel Aviv-native led the Terps in both doubles and singles wins during her junior season, picking up 15 doubles wins and 16 singles victories.
After graduating a record-setting senior class, Maryland welcomed three new additions to its roster for the 2017-18 season. Head coach Daria Panova added freshmen Eva Alexandrova and Zoe Kulkarni, along with Kansas State transfer Millie Stretton.
Alexandrova comes to Maryland as one of the highest rated recruits in program history. She was 118th in the ITF International Rankings when she signed her National Letter of Intent. She won a Grade 3 ITF Tournament in Kazakhstan and spent the summer before coming to Maryland playing tournaments in Asia.
Kulkarni was rated the No. 39 recruit in the class of 2017, according to tennisrecruiting.net. She played nationally and internationally on the junior tennis circuit. In 2016, she won the Reel Tennis Open Championships and in 2015 she reached the semifinals of the Copa Coqui – Cabo Rojo ITF Tournament. She was the top-ranked player out of Oregon and was rated the No. 2 player in the Northwest region.
Stretton comes to Maryland from Kansas State where she had an extremely successful first two seasons. Playing at the top of the rotation in both her freshman and sophomore seasons, she posted a team-high 20 singles wins in her first year. The total was good for most by a freshman in Wildcat history. She also picked up 14 doubles wins, which earned her a spot on the All-Big 12 freshman team.
She also earned 17 singles and doubles wins in her sophomore season.
After guiding Maryland to its best season in program history, head coach Daria Panova was named the 2017 Wilson/ITA Atlantic Region Coach of the Year. Panova led Maryland to a 16-6 record, with a program-best seven conference victories.
Panova earned her 50th victory at Maryland last season after the Terps topped Minnesota.
Maryland’s roster features student-athletes from five countries outside of the United States.
The Terps currently have representatives from the United Kingdom, Russia, Israel, Japan and Belarus.
Maryland will head to William and Mary for a non-conference dual against the Tribe on Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.