A Quick Huddle: Women’s Tennis edition

Continuing its journey around the American Athletic Conference, this week’s edition of “A Quick Huddle” heads back to the tennis courts. Let’s get ready to rally because women, it’s your time to shine.

Last year, at the women’s tennis AAC Conference Championship, No. 9 seed Tulane faced No. 8 seed East Carolina University in the first round. The Green Wave found victory against the Pirates only to fall in the next round to No. 1 seed University of Central Florida. UCF was unable to keep the momentum going the next day and eventually lost to No. 5 seed Southern Methodist University. The University of Tulsa, seeded No. 2, dominated 4-0 over SMU in the final to bring home the crown.

This season, the AAC is home to quite a bit of talent. The conference boasts five players who were ranked in the 2018-19 preseason Oracle/ITA Division I women’s tennis singles rankings.Wichita State University leads the pack, with both No. 24 Fatima Bizhukova and No. 94 Sandra Honigova. ECU’s Celia Ruiz came in at No. 50, closely followed by Tulsa’s Martina Okalova at No. 54. Rounding out the group is UCF sophomore Rebeka Stolmar, ranked No. 87.

Tulane’s team will play a minimum of four tournaments this fall, traveling to the University of Alabama, the University of Kentucky and Florida State University for invitationals. Additionally, there will be opportunities for players to compete at professional circuits. The Green Wave competed at the first of these tournaments this weekend, traveling to Oxford, Mississippi, for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southern Regional Championships, held Oct. 12-15.

The ITA hosts 12 Division I Women’s tennis regional championships in the fall. The regional doubles champions and singles champion from each tournament and finalists qualify for the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, which will be held later this year in Arizona.

Tulane gave a solid performance at this year’s Southern Regional Championship. After a tough loss in the first round of singles play, junior Ivone Alvaro had an impressive comeback, ending the weekend as the consolation flight champion. Alvaro also made it to the quarterfinals for the doubles competition with senior Elena Muller.

Wichita State found some success at the Central Regional Championship, as No. 94 Honigova reached the quarterfinals in the singles competition. Tulsa emerged victorious once again, however, with junior duo Vera Ploner and Okalova taking home the doubles title.

Both the University of Cincinnati and the University of Memphis competed at the Ohio Valley Regional Championship, and the University of Connecticut competed at the Northwest Regional Championship. Both competitions were held Oct. 11-15, in Tennessee and Connecticut, respectively. The remainder of the AAC teams will compete in their region’s tournament, all of which will be held over the Oct. 18-23 weekend.

Competition will continue in the spring, transitioning from mostly tournaments to one-on-one matches against other schools. Tulane has yet to release its spring 2019 schedule, and it is expected later this fall. The season will then come to a head at the AAC Conference Championship, scheduled to be held Apr. 17-20 in Orlando.

For now, the Green Wave will face its next opponent at the Roberta Allison Classic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Oct. 26-27.

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