May 7, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - For the third consecutive season and seventh time in program history, the Purdue women's tennis team has qualified for the NCAA Championships. The 39th-ranked Boilermakers (12-10) are set to meet No. 19 Georgia Tech (13-9) in the first round Friday at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn., at 11 a.m. ET. The site is hosted by No. 10 Vanderbilt (19-6), who will meet unranked Murray State (16-5), the fourth team at the site, in the first round, following the Purdue/Georgia Tech match.
The winners of Friday's two matches will battle in the second round Saturday at 5 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., where they will join 15 other site winners to compete for the national championship May 15-20.
Tournament matches will be regulation dual matches with three eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point, played in best-of-three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at seven-games-all in doubles and at six-games-all in singles.
Three of the four teams playing in Nashville received an at-large bid into the 64-team field: Purdue, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt. Murray State, winners of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, was an automatic qualifier. All four teams have previously played in the NCAA Championships. The Commodores have qualified each of the past 20 seasons, while the Yellow Jackets are making their 15th consecutive trip and the Racers have qualified for a fifth time in program history.
Friday's match against Georgia Tech will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Purdue is 1-3 all-time against Vanderbilt, beating the Commodores in 1976, and suffering defeat in 1983, 1993 and 1994. The Boilermakers lost to Murray State in 1976 and 1977, but won the last meeting in 1979.
In its last outing in the Big Ten semifinal match against top-seeded Michigan, Purdue dictated the play at doubles and took a pair of upset victories. Playing together for the first time, senior Mara Schmidt and freshman Andjela Djokovic controlled Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender from first to last serve to upset the then-17th-ranked Wolverine pair, 8-3, in the No. 1 spot. Djokovic was thrust into the doubles lineup for just the third time during her rookie campaign this spring. Krisztina Kapitany and Natalia Davila followed by avenging their loss just a few days prior to Ronit Yurovsky and Laura Ucros by upending the then-No. 80 pair, 8-7 (9-7).
The pairing of Schmidt and Djokovic marked the 12th different duo head coach Laura Glitz has put out on the courts this season. Their upset earned them a spot on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) May 1 doubles rankings at No. 72. Schmidt and Kapitany have not played side-by-side since March 30 due to lineup adjustments Glitz has had to make as a result of injuries, yet the duo has been ranked for six straight weeks. This week they are listed at No. 63.
The Yellow Jackets enter the NCAA Championships after being ousted in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament to eventual champion, Virginia, 4-1. Of their 22 matches this season, 18 have been against nationally ranked teams, to which they own a 10-9 record. The marquee win of Georgia Tech's season came on April 19 with a 4-3 upset of then-No. 1 Duke.
Although the Yellow Jackets do not have a ranked singles player, they do boast the nation's sixth-ranked tandem in Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard. The sophomore duo also earned an at-large bid into the 32-doubles team bracket of the NCAA Championships. Throughout the spring campaign they have been ranked among the top-six pairs and they owned the top spot in the Feb. 11 ITA rankings.
Kurey and Woodard have produced a 12-5 record this spring in the No. 1 spot for Georgia Tech and are 7-3 in their last 10 matches. Combined with fall play, the pair is 26-9 with nine wins over nationally ranked opponents. However, they are 2-5 when matching up against ranked opponents this spring and have been upset in their last five matches against nationally ranked duos.
The Boilermakers are a combined 2-6 in six combined trips to the NCAA Championships, qualifying in 1996, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013. They have advanced to the second round twice, including last season. A year ago Purdue edged No. 34 South Carolina, 4-3, in the first round, but were dealt a 4-0 setback by host and sixth-ranked Miami (Fla.) in the second round. In 2006, the Boilermakers also advanced to the second round as they upset No. 17 Harvard (4-2), followed by a 4-1 loss to No. 9 Northwestern.
Purdue is one of 39 Division I schools that had both its women's and men's tennis programs qualify for the 2014 NCAA Championships. Eleven schools had both teams receive automatic bids by winning its respective conference tournament. At five schools, the men's team received an automatic bid, while the women's team was awarded an at-large bid. There were three schools in which the women's team received an automatic bid and the men's team earned an at-large berth. The Boilermaker women and men are one of 20 schools to which at-large selections were awarded to both teams.