League Champs Head To Waco For NCAA Championship

Go C-USA! Senior Bonny Davidson is set to compete in her final NCAA Championship.
Senior Bonny Davidson is set to compete in her final NCAA Championship.

May 9, 2012

Weekly NotesGet Acrobat Reader | Baylor Regional Championship Central

TULSA, Okla. - The No. 25-ranked University of Tulsa women's tennis team (22-3) will travel to Waco, Texas, for the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship at Hurd Tennis Center. The Golden Hurricane will meet No. 45 Stephen F. Austin (23-4) in the first round at 11 a.m. May 11.

The winner of that match will stay in Waco to face either No. 13 Baylor (23-7) or Oral Roberts (13-5) in the second round. The winner of the Baylor Regional will advance to the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., hosted by the University of Georgia.

The team championships will be held May 18-21. Tulsa has advanced to the second round three of the last four years, and the team has never reached the NCAA Round of 16.

Stephen F. Austin (23-4) has achieved a plethora of firsts this season, highlighted by its first Southland Conference Championship and the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 23 victories are a school and league record, and its also ranks as the fourth-most wins in the nation this season. SFA owns a 1-3 record against ranked opponents, with the lone win coming over No. 59 Tulane. The Ladyjacks have fallen to No. 5 Baylor, No. 68 Missouri, No. 69 Illinois and UT Arlington. The team is led by Antonia Kolovou, who has achieved a 21-2 singles record this spring playing primarily at the fourth and fifth positions. Alina Shazhko (19-6), Malena Gordo (18-5) and Elena Kordolaimi (17-6) also boast strong records this season. Tulsa coach Dean Orford has never faced SFA, and the Ladyjacks have no ranked individuals.

Tulsa reached its first NCAA Championship in 2000 when the team made the second round. The Golden Hurricane has advanced to the second round three of the last four years, which includes both trips to Waco in 2008 and 2010. The Lady Bears knocked out TU in the second round on both of those occasions. Tulsa defeated Nebraska 4-2 in the opening round last year, and the team fell to Michigan 4-1 in the second round. TU owns an all-time record of 4-7 (.364) at the NCAA Championship.

The Golden Hurricane went to Memphis, Tenn., looking to defend its league title, and the team did exactly that by winning the 2012 Conference USA Women's Tennis Championship. TU took down No. 40 Rice in the championship match April 22 by a 4-2 margin. Tulsa won its third-straight league crown and its fifth title in the last six years, marking the most dominant stretch in C-USA history. The five championships are the most by any team in league history, and Tulsa became just the second program in league history to claim three-straight championships (Tulane 2003-05). The Golden Hurricane topped East Carolina 4-0 in the quarterfinals and then survived a 4-3 scare from Memphis in the semifinals before beating the Owls in the finals.

A league-record six members of the Tulsa women's tennis team earned Conference USA postseason accolades. The number tied last year's Tulsa squad and Tulane's 2004 team with the most honorees by one team in league history. Senior Anastasia Erofeeva and sophomore Samantha Vickers led the way for the Golden Hurricane, as both members of the team were named to the All-Conference USA Singles First Team for the first time in their respective careers. Senior Ewa Szatkowska and freshman Isaura Enrique were both named to the All-Conference USA Singles Second Team, while senior Bonny Davidson and junior Michelle Farley were both named to the All-Conference USA Third Team. Szatkowska was on the third team and Farley made the second team last season. Davidson and Enrique earned their first-career laurels. The doubles team of Erofeeva and Szatkowska were named to the All-Conference USA Doubles Second Team. Coach Dean Orford shared Conference USA Coach of the Year honors with Rice's Elizabeth Schmidt. This was his first time splitting the award, and he has been named coach of the year five of the last six seasons.

Senior Anastasia Erofeeva earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Singles Championship. The No. 49-ranked singles player in the nation became the first member of the Tulsa women's tennis team to earn a bid into an NCAA individual tournament since Daniela Muscolino in 2005. Erofeeva will etch her name into the record books when she competes in the tournament, as she will become just the fifth player in Tulsa women's tennis history to compete in the singles championship. The other four members of the Golden Hurricane were Anousjka van Exel (1998-99), Alicia Pillay (2002-03), Aleksandra Durska (2003), and Muscolino (2004-05). The singles championship will be held May 22-27 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The singles players and doubles teams from each conference who are ranked the highest in the most recent ITA National Rankings all received automatic berths into the fields. Courtney Collins of Memphis earned Conference USA's automatic berth, as she is ranked No. 33 in the nation. Erofeeva defeated Collins in straight sets in the semifinals of the Conference USA Women's Tennis Championship. Sophomore Samantha Vickers was chosen as the third alternate as the No. 64-ranked singles player in the nation. In last year's men's singles championship, then-freshman Japie De Klerk was selected as the fourth alternate and earned entry into the field after various players withdrew.

Tulsa has competed in seven C-USA Championships since joining the league in 2005-06, and the Golden Hurricane has captured five of the last six titles. TU began its run in 2007, when the team defeated third-seed Marshall 4-0 in the finals. The Golden Hurricane has been the No. 1 seed in four of the last six tournaments (2007-08, 2011-12) and the No. 2 seed the other two years (2009-10). Tulsa defeated Marshall in the championship match during its first three title runs (2007-08, `10), the team topped SMU 4-3 in last year's final, and the Golden Hurricane defeated Rice 4-2 to win the 2012 championship. Tulsa owns an all-time record of 18-2 (.900) in the Conference USA Championship, and the team has advanced to the finals each of the last five years.

Senior Anastasia Erofeeva is Tulsa's all-time record holder for career doubles wins (106) and career combined wins (216). She is also second all-time with 110 singles victories. She is the first player in school history to win 100 doubles matches, and she is also the first player in school history to hit triple digits in both singles and doubles. Fellow senior Ewa Szatkowska has teamed with Erofeeva for 81 of those 106 doubles victories. Szatkowska has 92 career doubles victories of her own, which is second on the school's all-time charts. Her 87 singles wins are sixth in school history, and she is fourth all-time with 177 career combined victories. Junior Michelle Farley is eighth on the school charts with 75 singles wins and she is ninth with 125 combined wins.

Tulsa is currently 22-3 this season, and the doubles point has so far been a near perfect indicator of whether TU will be victorious or not. Tulsa has won the doubles point in 20 of 22 victories this season, while the team has lost the doubles point in the three losses.

Tulsa has only lost three matches this season, and those were to No. 19 Tennessee, No. 24 Ole Miss and No. 32 Nebraska. All three of those teams have vaulted up the rankings since their meeting with the Golden Hurricane, and they are all currently ranked inside the top 22 in the nation. Ole Miss sits at No. 16, Nebraska is ranked No. 17, and Tennessee is No. 23.

The Golden Hurricane has won a school-record six Conference USA Women's Tennis Athlete of the Week honors this season, breaking the old mark of five weekly laurels set in 2008. Those six honors have been split by senior Anastasia Erofeeva (Jan. 31, March 13, March 20) and sophomore Samantha Vickers (Jan. 24, April 3, April 17). Erofeeva and Vickers each have captured three accolades this season, which ties the school record for most in a single season (Alexandra Kichoutkin, 2008).

Tulsa coach Dean Orford broke the school record for career wins in 2011. His record-breaking victory came Jan. 21 with a 7-0 victory over Mississippi State. He passed Paige McMurray (1998-05), who ended her career with a 104-65 mark. Orford is in his seventh season as head coach of the Golden Hurricane, and he has recorded 150 victories to just 41 losses for a school-record .785 win percentage. In 2011, Orford led TU to a school-record 26 wins and an .897 win percentage. He was named the ITA Central Region Coach of the Year and the Conference USA Coach of the Year for his efforts on the record-breaking campaign. Orford has also been dominant at home during his career. He owns a 96-11 record at Case Tennis Center for a stellar .897 home winning percentage.

Tulsa is currently ranked No. 25 in the most recent Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings released April 30. Earlier in the season, Tulsa tied the school record with a rank of No. 19. TU ended 2011 at No. 21, which was the highest end-of-year rank in school history. Tulsa also began this season ranked No. 22, which was the highest preseason rank in school history. The most recent individual rankings were also released April 30. Senior Anastasia Erofeeva is the highest ranked singles player at No. 49 in the country, while sophomore Samantha Vickers sits at No. 64 in the country. The doubles team of Erofeeva and fellow senior Ewa Szatkowska earned a doubles rank of No. 68.



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