THIS WEEKEND: As the No. 11 seed in the 2005 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships, the 10th-ranked Texas women's tennis team (20-5, 10-1 Big 12) will face Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern (14-8) in the first round of the tournament on Friday, May 13 at 2 p.m. (Central). The University of Texas will serve as a regional host and all matches will be played at Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin. The winner of the Texas/Southern match advances to Saturday's second round to face the winner of Friday's early match between 31st-ranked Texas A&M (15-12) and 41st-ranked UNLV (14-8). Second-round action is scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at 11:30 a.m. The winner of the single-elimination regional will advance to the NCAA Team Championships Round of 16 held Thursday-Sunday, May 19-22 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., on the University of Georgia campus.
Schedule of Matches at the 2005 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships
First and Second Rounds (Penick-Allison Tennis Center, Austin, Texas)
First Round: Friday, May 13
11 a.m.: Texas A&M (15-12) vs. UNLV (14-8)
2 p.m.: No. 11 seed Texas (20-5) vs. Southern (14-8)
Second Round: Saturday, May 14
2 p.m.: Texas A&M/UNLV winner vs. Texas/Southern winner
TEXAS ALL-TIME AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Longhorns are making their 23rd consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships, dating back to 1983. Texas has won the National Championship twice, in 1993 and 1995, and was runner-up in 1992. UT also advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 1990, 1994 and 1997. Texas holds a 29-20 all-time record (.592) at the NCAA Championships under the direction of coach Jeff Moore. As the No. 11 seed in this year's tournament, the Longhorns are hosting their sixth NCAA Regional in the past seven years. UT previously hosted the NCAA first and second rounds from 1999-2002 and then again in 2004. In last year's NCAA Tournament, Texas defeated UT-Arlington, 4-0, in the first round, before dropping a 4-0 decision to Arizona State in the second round. The loss marked only the third time in school history that UT did not advance to the Tournament's Round of 16. Texas is 261-144 (.644) all-time against the 2005 Tournament field. During the 2005 regular season, the Longhorns faced 14 of the other 63 teams in the NCAA Championships, posting a 9-5 record (.643).
SCOUTING SOUTHERN: The Southern University Lady Jags (14-8) received an automatic bid to the 2005 NCAA Championships after claiming their fourth consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference championship with a 4-3 win Alabama A&M University. This marks the first meeting between Texas and Southern.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M: Texas A&M received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships after posting a 15-12 overall record and advancing to the semifinals of the 2005 Big 12 Championships. The 31st-ranked Aggies are led by senior Helga Vieira and sophomore Anna Lubinsky, who are ranked No. 66 and No. 86 in singles, respectively. Texas A&M also boasts the No. 49 doubles tandem in the nation in senior Lauren Walker and Lubinsky. UT and A&M have faced each other 41 times. The Longhorns hold a 36-5 advantage in the all-time series which dates back to a 7-2 Texas win on April 7, 1979, in College Station. These two teams last met on April 20, 2005, when the Longhorns defeated the Aggies, 5-2, in Austin.
SCOUTING UNLV: UNLV received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships after advancing to the finals of the Mountain West Conference tournament and compiling a 14-8 overall record. The 41st-ranked Lady Rebels are led by freshman Elena Gantcheva, who is ranked No. 34 nationally in singles. This will be the first meeting between Texas and UNLV in the sport of women's tennis.
NCAA INDIVIDUAL SELECTIONS FOR UT: Three Texas players were selected for 2005 NCAA Championship individual competition. Sophomore Petra Dizdar (Split, Croatia) will compete in the NCAA Singles Championship, while the duo of juniors Katie Ruckert (Vienna, Va.) and Kendra Strohm (Tucson, Ariz.) will compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship. Dizdar, who is ranked 54th in the latest ITA national singles poll, carries a 20-15 overall record into first-round play. The sophomore has played most of the season at the top of the singles lineup and is 14-9 in dual matches. As a doubles team, Ruckert and Strohm are currently ranked No. 28 by the ITA and have compiled a 16-12 overall record. The duo has a 13-10 mark in dual matches when competing at the No. 1 position in the lineup. The NCAA Tennis Subcommittee selected 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams to compete in the championships which will be held May 23-28 in Athens, Ga., following the conclusion of the team championship (May 19-22).
TEXAS AND THE ITA RANKINGS: Texas is ranked No. 10 in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national team rankings, released on May 2. The Longhorns have remained in the top 15 all season and climbed to as high as No. 8 in the poll (on March 29).
PLAYERS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Four Longhorns are ranked in the national poll: sophomore Petra Dizdar is 54th and juniors Kendra Strohm and Mia Marovic (Split, Croatia) are 84th and 92nd, respectively. Dizdar carries a 20-15 overall record and is 14-9 in dual matches, while Strohm boasts records of 20-16 overall and 12-11 in dual matches. Marovic is 26-8 in singles action overall and 19-3 in dual matches. In addition, the team of junior Katie Ruckert and Strohm are ranked No. 28 in doubles. The duo is 16-12 overall and 13-10 in dual matches.
WEEKLY CONFERENCE HONORS: This spring, Texas had two performers gain Big 12 Player of the Week honors. Sophomore Petra Dizdar received a pair of honors on March 14 and March 28 after posting a pair of upset victories over top-ranked opponents. She defeated No. 35 Katie Blaszak of Duke and No. 42 Sabita Maharaj of Tennessee. Junior Katie Ruckert was recognized on March 25 for her dominant play in singles where she surrendered a combined eight games to her three opponents for the week.
ACADEMIC ALL-STARS: Five Longhorns earned spots on the 2005 Academic All-Big 12 Team. Juniors Katie Ruckert (government major) and Kendra Strohm (kinesiology major) and sophomore Petra Dizdar (public relations major) were named to the First Team, while juniors Kelly Baritot (Allison Park, Pa.) (corporate communication major) and Mia Marovic (economics major) earned second team honors. This is the second consecutive year Ruckert, Strohm and Baritot have received Academic All-Big 12 accolades. An athlete must have a 3.2 or higher GPA to be recognized as a first-team selection, and the second team are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA. Dizdar was also recently named Longhorn tennis Academic MVP.
MORE PLAYER ACCOLADES: Junior Katie Ruckert was the recipient of the Southwest Region ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship. The award is presented to a women's player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, which has enhanced her team's performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis.
HEAD COACH JEFF MOORE: In 23 years at the helm of the Texas women's tennis program, Jeff Moore has established a winning tradition that he and his players continually strive to uphold. Moore's teams have captured two National Championship titles (1993 & 1995), four top-three finishes at the NCAA Tournament (1990, 1992, 1994 & 1997), seven Big 12 regular season championships (1997-2002 & 2004) and seven Big 12 Tournament crowns (1997-2002 & 2005). Currently, with 589 wins, including 501 at Texas, Moore ranks second on the active Division I women's tennis coaches wins list, trailing only Indiana's Lin Loring, who has 660 wins entering the NCAA Championships.