Tennis looks to make waves at ITA Regionals this week

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s tennis team is set to compete in their first mid-week tournament of the fall as they travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to compete in the ITA Central Regional Tennis Tournament beginning Wednesday morning.

Over 120 athletes from 29 colleges from Arkansas to Idaho are slated to compete in the five-day tournament. Though the Lady Razorbacks are the only team representing the Southeastern Conference, several spring 2006 opponents such as Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Kansas State are scheduled to compete.

The Lady Razorbacks tied with Brigham Young University for most singles players (6) selected to compete in the tournament. Leading the way for Arkansas this week in the main draw are seniors Vlatka Jovanovic and Karina Ledaja, sophomore Maryori Franco and 10-0 freshman Aurelija Miseviciute.

Selected to compete in the main draw through qualifying rounds are senior Melissa Cornett and freshman Ela Kaluder. On Wednesday, the 64-player qualifying bracket takes the top 16 players to the main draw beginning Thursday. In the first round of qualifying, Cornett opens with Carla Pallares of Colorado State at 8:30 a.m. while Kaluder is slated to play at 12:30 p.m. against Kansas State’s’s Marta Perevoschikova.

In doubles, the Lady’Backs also tied with BYU for most number of doubles teams selected with three. The 11-1 freshman duo of Miseviciute and Kaluder were selected to compete along with Franco and Ledaja, who put their 9-1 fall doubles record to the test. Seniors Jovanovic and Cornett round out the doubles field for the Lady’Backs.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity of playing at the central regional”, said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “It has been an excellent fall and we are looking to build on that in Salt Lake City.”

Last year at the regional tournament, Arkansas was led by senior Iliana Pacheco, who advanced to the second round of the main draw of the high-stakes tournament after defeating Arkansas-Little Rock’s Outi Jarvien 6-0, 6-3 in round one.

After qualifying action is completed, main draw play begins Thursday, Oct. 20, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 23. For more information on Arkansas tennis or any other Lady Razorback sport please visit LADYBACKS.COM.