Terps Set for Two at Home
After a dominating victory over Towson, the Maryland women's tennis team (3-2, 0-1 ACC) completes its three match homestand against No. 52 Columbia and Richmond this weekend.
On Saturday, The Terrapins will take on the Lions at 11 a.m from the Tennis Center at College Park. The following day, the Spiders will be in town, with play scheduled to begin at noon.
Last Time Out
The Terrapins throttled Towson, 7-0, to get back over .500 for the season. In doubles, the Terps never allowed the Tigers to get started, taking control of all three matches from the outset. Olga and Nataliya Bredikhina flourished in their first match at the No. 2 position, dispatching their opponents, 8-1.
In singles, Maryland dropped only one set to finish off a dominate performance. Vroni Van Berlo, Sarah Gealer and Olga Gaistruk took care of their opponents quickly before Gabriela Srodowski won the only close match of the day, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, (10-2).
Maryland has been untouchable in the friendly confines of the Tennis Center at College Park this year. The Terps are 3-0 at home, and have not lost a doubles or singles match in those contests. More impressively, Maryland has only lost three sets in those matches and have allowed opponents to win more than three games in just eight of 36 sets
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 double team for most of the year. The Bredikhina sisters formed the No. 3 doubles team in the Terps' first four matches before being elevated to No. 2 doubles against Towson. Both teams responded to the move with excellent performances.
Gaistruk is the only freshman who has not paired with a classmate. The Ukraine native has teamed with senior Vroni Van Berlo at the No. 1 doubles. All three doubles pairs are 4-1.
In singles, the freshmen have combined for a 17-8 record. Srodowski and Nataliya Bredikhina have anchored the Terps from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. Both players are 4-1.
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 4-1 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.
Maryland's last meeting against the Lions came last season. The Terrapins triumphed 5-2 in New York and are 4-0 against the Lions since 2009. Welma Luus won in doubles and singles to help the Terrapins to victory.
Maryland is 8-1 against Richmond since 2003, with the last meeting a 5-2 Maryland victory in College Park last season.
Scouting the Lions
No. 52 Columbia will bring two ranked singles players into Saturday's match against the Terrapins. Senior Nicole Bartnik, the 37th-ranked player in the country, leads the line for the Lions in singles. Bartnik is 1-4 so far in dual match competition this season, but went 14-3 last year.
No. 109 Kanika Vaidya will also be a key for the Lions. The freshman is 4-1 in singles this season, and combines with junior Bianca Sanon to form the No. 1 doubles team. The pairing is 3-0 this season.
Scouting the Spiders
Richmond enters Sunday's contest coming off of two straight losses to Pennsylvania and Navy. That losing streak came after a three match winning streak in which the Spiders defeated Longwood, Temple and St. Joseph's.
The Spiders feature sophomore Melissa Kandinata at No. 1 singles. The Cary, North Carolina native is 3-5 this season. Kandinata has teamed with senior Alexandra Smyth to form the Spiders most common doubles team. They're 4-1 this year.
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