Oct. 13, 2011
"We're just working on improving," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "We can't get too caught up on what we're trying to achieve in a tournament, but we want to work on getting better. I think we have to work on being a little more aggressive in certain situations. We certainly have a lot of room to work on in the return and serve game. Going into this weekend, that's what we're concentrated on."
Sophomore Kayla McMurry will serve things up for Tennessee, competing in the qualifying bracket Friday at 10:15 a.m. ET against Louisville's Gabrielle Duncan. All qualifier matches will be played Friday, while the singles and doubles main draws are slated to get underway Saturday. Four individuals will advance to the main draw.
Senior Natalie Pluskota, ranked 29th nationally and seeded first in the singles main draw, will put her 4-2 record to test against ETSU's Paula Jaime on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
The Lady Vols' lone senior will team up with junior Kata Szekely in doubles for the first time in their careers. Earning the sixth seed, the duo will face Purdue's Gisella Pere and Imogen Golder on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
"I think they're going to be formidable just for the mere fact that they both have a lot of experience," co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "It's going to take a little bit of an adjustment to get used to each other and playing together. They have a good understanding of their personalities and their tendencies so I think they'll do well."
Szekely also notched the 11th seed in the singles draw and will open up against Wright State's Kayla Tuscany.
Sophomore Brynn Boren, who won both the singles and doubles championships at this event last year, is seeded first in doubles with freshman Sarah Toti and second in singles. Boren will start the defense of her titles in both draws against multiple Butler Bulldogs, facing Carolina Hedrick in singles (Saturday at 6 p.m. ET) and Stephanie McLoughlin and Gabrielle Rubenstein in doubles (Saturday at 9 a.m. ET). She and Toti are 7-2 together, including four wins over ranked opponents.
Toti gives Tennessee its fourth seeded athlete in singles, tabbed 15th. She'll face Purdue's Mara Schmidt on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.
Also competing for the Lady Vols is freshman Joanna Henderson, who will face ninth-seeded Julia Fellerhoff (Louisville) Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. Henderson will team up with McMurry in doubles and will face the draw's second seed in Schmidt/Jennifer Rabot (Purdue) Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The Boilermakers duo is also ranked 46th.
The tournament, which includes back draws, runs through Tuesday, with the winners advancing to the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships (Nov. 3-6) in New York.
USTA/ITA OHIO VALLEY REGIONAL OPENING ROUND SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern)
QUALIFYING SINGLES DRAW - Friday
Kayla McMurry (UT) vs. Gabrielle Duncan (Louisville) - 10:15 a.m.
DOUBLES MAIN DRAW - Saturday
#28 Brynn Boren/Sarah Toti (UT) vs. Stephanie McLoughlin/Gabrielle Rubenstein (Butler) - 9 a.m.
Natalie Pluskota/Kata Szekely (UT) vs. Gisella Pere/Imogen Golder (Purdue) - 10 a.m.
Joanna Henderson/McMurry (UT) vs. Mara Schmidt/Jennifer Rabot (Purdue) - 10:30 a.m.
SINGLES MAIN DRAW - Saturday
Pluskota (UT) vs. Paula Jaime (ETSU) - 2 p.m.
Henderson (UT) vs. Julia Fellerhoff (Louisville) - 2 p.m.
Toti (UT) vs. Mara Schmidt (Purdue) - 3 p.m.
Szekely (UT) vs. Kayla Tuscany (Wright State) - 4 p.m.
Boren (UT) vs. Carolina Hedrick (Butler) - 6 p.m.