Terps Return Home to Face Tigers
Feb. 14, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
After a week off, the Maryland women's tennis team returns to the court to face intrastate rival Towson on Friday at 2 p.m from the Tennis Center at College Park. Possessed with one of the youngest rosters in the country, the Terrapins (2-2, 0-1 ACC) look to rebound from two straight road losses.
"I'm looking for a better match. I want this fifth match to be better than the previous four," head coach Daria Panova said. "I want them to implement everything that we've been working this last week. We had a couple meetings and talked about what's good for them and what's important for the team. I want them to show it during the match. It doesn't matter what they say until they can prove it with their actions."
Last Time Out
A trip to Boston on Super Bowl weekend was unsuccessful for the Terrapins, who suffered losses to Boston College and then 74th-ranked Harvard on consecutive days. The Terps secured the doubles point to take an early lead against the Eagles, but could not hold on in singles, losing 4-3.
In their second match of the weekend, the Terrapins started well, but lost to the now 73rd-ranked Crimson, 6-1. Gabriela Srodowski picked up Maryland's only singles victory, a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Hai-Li Kong.
Five freshmen will be integral to Maryland's success this season. Sarah Gealer, the only freshman who played during the fall season, is joined by spring newcomers Olga Gaistruk, Gabriela Srodowski, Olga Bredikhina and Nataliya Bredikhina.
Gealer and Srodowski, the former from Los Angeles, California, the later from California, Maryland, have been solid as the Terrapins' No. 2 doubles team this season. The sisters Bredikhina have formed the No. 3 doubles team so far this year.
Gaistruk is the only freshman who has not paired with a classmate. The native of Ukraine has teamed with senior Vroni Van Berlo at the No. 1 doubles position. All three doubles pairs are 3-1.
In singles, the freshmen have combined for a 12-8 record. Srodowski and Nataliya Bredikhina have anchored the Terps from the No. 5 and No.6 positions. Both players are 3-1.
Maryland's two upperclassmen will serve as mentors for their young teammates this season, but in different ways.
Vroni Van Berlo has been a source of stability for the Terps this season, accumulating 3-1 records in both singles and doubles. A native of the Netherlands, Van Berlo has held down the No. 1 spot in the Maryland's singles and doubles lineups, and won her first ever match against a ranked player when she defeated No. 116 Jessica Wacnik of Boston College, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Junior Welma Luus will not be on-court this spring, but will still play an integral part in the Terrapins' development this season. The Pretoria, South Africa native, who was ranked as high as No. 15 nationally in doubles last year, will serve as a key source of guidance for her younger teammates.
Under New Management
Daria Panova became Maryland's third women's tennis head coach in three years when she was named to the top position on August 13, 2012.
Panova brings a sterling resume to College Park. The former Oregon standout was a two time All-American and the 2003 Pac-10 Player of the Year while in Eugene. The Moscow native is also the winningest singles player in Oregon history with an impressive 94 victories.
After graduating from Oregon in 2005, Panova served as a volunteer assistant for the Ducks. She then moved to the University of Minnesota, where for the past five seasons she has made her home as an assistant coach. Panova helped lead the Gophers to their first NCAA tournament appearance in nine years last season.
Going back to 1998, the Terrapins have not faced the Tigers.
Scouting the Tigers
Towson (1-0, 0-0 CAA) will open its spring season against Maryland after its original season opener against Hofstra was canceled due to snow. As a result, the Tigers will have not played a duel match since a 5-2 triumph over Mt St Mary's in October. In the victory, Towson employed junior Nani Lizana at No.1 singles. The native of Spain accumulated nine victories as the Tigers' No. 2 singles performer last season.
In complete contrast to his coaching counterpart, Towson head man Doug Neagle has eight upperclassmen at his disposal. Senior Andrea Samlin will be key to the Tigers' efforts. A doubles specialist, Samlin teamed with Lizana last season to great effect, and her presence in doubles will be important for the Tigers. The Merrick, New York native was also incredibly productive at No. 5 singles last season, going 9-2.
Junior Nisha Shah, who accumulated over 20 singles victories in both of her first two seasons at the Baltimore area school, will also be a major factor.
Follow the Terps
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