Terps Prepare for Virginia Filled Weekend
March 8, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland women's team will try to rebound from a tough loss to VCU with two matches against ACC foes this weekend. The Terps take on No. 47 Virginia at home Saturday before traveling to No. 63 Virginia Tech for a Sunday contest against the Hokies.
The Terrapins (4-4, 0-1 ACC) have alternated wins and losses in their past five matches. The young squad is 4-1 at home this season and 0-3 on the road. The match against Virginia Tech will be Maryland's third straight against a ranked opponent and the Terps are 0-3 against ranked teams this season.
Last Time Out
In their third road contest of the season, the Terps traveled to Virginia Commonwealth and took a hard fought 4-3 loss to the Rams. The Terrapins put themselves in a hole early after losing the doubles point, but battled well in singles, splitting the session, 3-3.
Freshman Sarah Gealer notched her second straight victory since moving up to No. 2 singles, taking a 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 decision. Both Bredikhina twins won in impressive fashion, with Olga winning her match at No. 3, 6-4, 6-3, and Nataliya grabbing a victory at No. 6, 6-0, 6-4.
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, started the season as the No. 2 doubles duo. The Bredikhina sisters formed the No. 3 doubles team in the Terps' first four matches before being elevated to No. 2 doubles against Towson.
More recently, Gealer has moved up to team with Senior Vroni Van Berlo to form Maryland's No. 1 tandem. The twins have slid into the No. 2 spots, while Gaistruk and Srodowski now play at No. 3.
In singles, the freshmen have combined for a 25-15 overall record. At home, they're 20-5.
"They just have to keep bringing the energy and a sense of urgency to every single match," assistant coach and former Maryland standout Maros Horny said. "They can be a little nervous to start the match, but the energy will make the nerves go away."
Maryland's two upperclassmen will serve as mentors for their young teammates this season, but in different ways.
Vroni Van Berlo Berlo has been a source of stability for the Terps this season, accumulating 6-2 singles record 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 15th 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.
The Terrapins are 6-11 against Virginia since 1998.
Since 2003, Virginia Tech leads the series against Maryland, 6-3.
Scouting the Cavaliers
Virginia enters Saturday's match off a tough 5-2 loss to Memphis on Feb 24. The Cavaliers are 0-3 at home this season, but boast a 2-1 mark on the road. All three home losses came in the ITA National Team Indoors, which were played in Charlottesville.
Virginia has featured three different doubles teams at No. 1 this season, the most successful being the pairing of Maci Epstien and Erin Vierra, who are 4-1 from that spot.
When the match moves to singles, the Cavaliers will send out two ranked players. No. 10 Julia Elbaba is 2-3 at No. 1 singles this spring season, but 18-5 overall. Freshman Stephanie Nauta, the 61st ranked player in the country, is 4-0 in dual matches and 17-4 overall.
Scouting the Hokies
Virginia Tech brings a two game winning streak into Sunday's match. Illinca Stoica occupies the No. 1 singles position for the Hokies and is 5-2 in the spring season. In doubles, the Hokies are 6-3 at the No. 1 doubles spot with Kelly Williford being a part of all nine matches.
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