May 3, 2001
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Washington State women's tennis team received an at-large berth to the 2001 Division I NCAA Women's Tennis Championships when the 64-team field was announced Thursday.
The Cougars (11-8), ranked 27th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, will face No. 44 Indiana (16-9) from the Big Ten Conference Friday, May 11. WSU will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., for the first round hosted by Tennessee (23-3), an at-large selection out of the Southeastern Conference. Should the Cougars advance to the second round, they will play either the Lady Volunteers, ranked third and the fifth seed overall in the tournament or Southern Conference champion Furman (17-8).
In addition to the team selection, junior Erica Perkins--No. 29 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings--received a bid to the singles championships, which will be held May 21-26 at the Lincoln Tennis Center in Stone Mountain, Ga., hosted by Georgia State. It is Perkins' second appearance as an individual at the NCAA championships. In 1999, as a sophomore, Perkins became the first singles player in WSU history to be invited to the individual championships. Her 68-career singles victories rank third all-time at WSU.
The doubles' tandem of senior Ana Moura and freshman Stacy McKenna--No. 30 in the ITA rankings--became the first doubles team in WSU history to be selected for the individual championships, also held May 21-26 in Stone Mountain, Ga.
"We thought Erica had a very good shot given her ranking," head coach Cari Groce said. "We were hoping that Stacy and Ana would have a good Pac-10 tournament to solidify their spot. We didn't have as great of a tournament as were would have liked to, and I knew that they were going to be on the bubble. It was great to see Erica, Stacy and Ana's names pop up."
"Having a singles player as well as a doubles team compete just shows the kind of program we have and the steps we have made to get here," Perkins said.
McKenna and Moura as well as the doubles team of senior Moniek van de Ven and freshman Lorena Arias each recorded 14 wins this season to tie for seventh on WSU's single season list and tie for ninth in the Cougars' career rankings.
The Cougars are making their third postseason appearance in the last four years. WSU received one of 33 at-large bids along with Pacific-10 Conference members, Arizona State, California, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington. In the Cougars' two previous NCAA tournament appearances, WSU lost in the first round at UNLV (1998) and fell in the first round to Mississippi State (1999).
The Pac-10's automatic bid was earned by top-ranked Stanford after the Cardinal posted an undefeated record in league play. The seven bids handed out to the conference are the second most in this year's tournament. The Southeastern Conference had 11 teams selected.
The Cougars posted a record of 3-8 against 2001 NCAA Tournament teams, including wins over Mountain West champion BYU and Big West champion Boise State. WSU also notched the first victory in school history over UCLA.
McKenna tied the WSU season record for singles victories with 25. Her 25-9 record (.735 winning percentage) is sixth best in WSU history.
Senior captain Tamara Filipovic has 19 singles wins this season and is second on the WSU all-time list with 76 while van de Ven's 64 singles victories are tied for fifth in Cougar history.
The tennis team became the third WSU squad to advance to the postseason this academic year, joining women's volleyball (second round) and women's soccer (first round).
"It is great to finish this way," Filipovic said. "We went to nationals my freshman and sophomore years, and last year we were disappointed that we didn't make it. This year we are getting back on the right track and continuing to do what we started three years ago."
"These are the goals we set at the beginning of the year," McKenna added. "We've finally achieved the goals we wanted to."