Terps Set for Two Home Tilts
March 15, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md - After two tough ACC losses, the Maryland women's tennis team looks to rebound with a dip back into the non-conference this weekend. The Terps (4-6, 0-3 ACC) take on the University of Pennsylvania at home on Saturday, with play scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The next day, No. 33 William & Mary travels to College Park for a match set to begin at noon.
Last Time Out
The Terps reentered ACC play, after a five week break, with matches against then No. 45 Virginia and No. 63 Virginia Tech. On Saturday, the Cavaliers blanked the Terps, 7-0, with only Olga and Nataliya Bredikhina able to salvage a win for Maryland at No. 2 doubles. Virginia's deep squad was able to jump on the Terrapins in singles, as Maryland players were only able to win 11 first set games as a team. Senior Vroni Van Berlo gave another fine effort at No. 1 singles, pushing No. 13 Julia Elbaba to a deciding super tiebreak, before falling in the breaker, 10-7.
The losses dropped the Terrapins to 0-3 in conference play.
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 27-23 overall record. At home, they're 20-10.
"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 6-4 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 2-10 against the Tribe since 1998. The series against the Quakers is knotted at five in the same time frame. Penn and William & Mary have history from this season, with the Tribe routing the Quakers, 6-1, on Feb. 23.
Scouting the Quakers
Penn enters Saturday's contest on a two match winning streak. The Quakers feature the No. 26 doubles pair in the country, Sonya Latycheva and Augustina Eskenazi, who enter Saturday's match with a sterling 8-1 record this spring.
In singles, reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Sol Eskenazi, leads the line for the Quakers. The sophomore is 7-1 in dual matches and has some history with the Terrapins. In the fall, Eskenanzi defeated now injured Terp, Welma Luus, at the Cissie Leary Invitational. Eskenanzi also played No. 1 doubles for Penn last season, and defeated Luus at that spot in Maryland's 7-0 victory over the Quakers. Luus would have the last laugh that day, beating now sophomore Alex Ion, 7-6 (5), 1-6, (11-9), at No. 3 singles.
Scouting the Tribe
Off to its best start since 2007, William & Mary has ripped off seven straight wins and currently holds an 11-2 record this spring. The Tribe has been ranked as high as 25th nationally this season, but enter Sunday's match at No. 33. The Terps and Tribe have faced four common opponents this season; Harvard, UMBC, Richmond and Virginia Tech. The Terps hold a 2-2 record against these teams while William & Mary is 4-1.
In doubles, the Tribe trot out the fifth ranked duo in nation, Maria Belaya and Jeltje Loomas, who have accumulated an 11-1 record this season. Belaya also heads up the William & Mary squad in singles, and holds a 7-4 record at the No. 1 spot.
The Tribe has received spectacular singles production from Anik Cepeda and Leeza Nemchinov so far this year. The pair is a combined 24-4, playing everywhere from No.2 to No. 5 in the lineup.
The tilt with the Tribe will also give the Terrapins another opportunity to beat a team from Virginia. Maryland is 1-3 against teams from Virginia this season, its only win coming against "border rival" Richmond on Feb. 24.
Follow the Terps
To find live updates and news on Maryland women's tennis, follow the team on Twitter @TerpTennis