The next 4 days will see a selection of the strongest players of women's college tennis when 16 teams meet in Wisconsin to crown the Indoor Team Champion of 2016. In today's Friday Scholarship Guide we are looking at the event itself and we are offering you our very personal interactive draw! Read on to find out more.
From today onwards it's all about women's tennis in Madison, Wisconsin, when 16 teams step on the host's 12 indoor courts to crown the 2016 National Indoor Champion. The host is the University of Wisconsin once again, having organized the tournament for the period from the beginning in 1988 all the way to 2010, before it eventually moved to the University of Virginia for the last 5 years. There are two teams which stand out in numbers of Championships won: Stanford (10) and Florida (6), but Stanford will not be able to add another one to their history, as the program chose not to participate this year.
Historically, the Indoor Championships have always been an important indicator for the spring season to follow. Remarkable 16 times (out of 28) either the winning team or the runner-up won the NCAA Championships a couple months later.
..."You could argue that it's the toughest tournament in college to get into for a team because it's only 16 teams as opposed to the NCAAs that are 64 (teams) now (...)"
(Coach Tina Samara, Wisconsin)
16 teams. 1 qualified for hosting the tournament (Wisconsin) and the remaining 15 qualified by winning their respective ITA Regional Event at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend some weeks ago:
As you can tell from the map Vanderbilt, Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU (SEC); North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, Duke (ACC); Michigan, Ohio State (Big Ten); Oklahoma State, Texas Tech (Big 12); California (Pac 12) and Fresno State (Mountain West) came through.
With that many big names lined up, rest assured spectators will see some high-class college tennis again this year.
The draw promises exciting days ahead of us. We will leave the task of analyzing the specific rounds, UTRs, and previews in great detail to the writers from College Tennis Today. Let's take a look at our graphical version of the draw below:
We have Vanderbilt all the way on top of the draw, naturally among the favorites to win the title following their 2015 National Championship last year. Non-ranked host program Wisconsin will have to deliver the impossible (there are no easy first-round opponents at a 16-team Indoor Championships) against #4-seeded Cal. Make sure you read more on the interesting background of the head coach by clicking on the tag in the draw above!
The bottom half of the draw offers full action. Reigning champ North Carolina (UNC) and last year's runner-up Georgia face a likely confrontation already in the semi-final. North Carolina beat Texas A&M last weekend. Check out what UNC's coach had to say after the win by moving to the respective tag above. Georgia's top player Ellen Perez on the other hand seems to be on top of her game right now - inspired by her first Grand Slam appearance in Down Under and - having won against the current best college player Joana Eidukonyte (ranked #1 in the nation - ITA: January 5, 2016).
Make sure to keep an eye out for the potential semi-final clash between these two strong teams UNC and Georgia, which will be a serious test for UNC's ability to defend last year's title in a potential (likely?) showdown versus Vanderbilt...
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