Blue Demons Begin NCAA Championship on Friday
CHICAGO - When the DePaul women's tennis team take the courts at Michigan's Varsity Tennis Center on Friday the Blue Demons will make history - becoming DePaul's first tennis program to earn an at-large NCAA Championship berth. No. 30 DePaul is slated to take on No. 34 Ohio State at 10 a.m. (CST) on May 14. Matches are scheduled to be played outdoors, but will be moved inside should inclement weather become a problem.
The winner of Friday's match will square off with either fourth-seeded Michigan or Illinois-Chicago at noon on Saturday. Michigan will provide live scoring for all matches and should tennis action move indoors, live video will also be available.
Looking at DePaul: Enter the NCAA Championship with a 18-5 mark... earned second place at the BIG EAST Championship... won nine of its last 11 matches... both losses to then-No. 5 Notre Dame... earned shutout victories in four of its last nine wins... 7-5 against ranked teams... 2-3 against teams ranked in the top 30... Anna Redecsi, Selma Salkovic and Katarina Milinkovic all have 20 or more wins in singles while Sandra Zmak has 19, Gia McKnight sits at 18 and Kirsten Gambrell has 17... No. 18 Redecsi/Salkovic enter the NCAA Championship with an impressive 29-7 mark in doubles and have won nine of their last 11 matches... Redecsi and Salkovic are 7-4 against ranked teams this season.
Eyeing the Buckeyes: OSU is making its third consecutive and ninth NCAA Championship... put together a 19-9 record and were 5-5 in Big 10 duals this season... Gabby Steele leads OSU with 25 singles victories while Kelsey Haviland has 23 and No. 71 Kirsten Flower follows with 22... the pair of Cami Hubbs and Haviland boast a 17-15 record while the pair is 12-13 in the No. 1 position... Ohio State holds a 6-0 series advantage over DePaul and won the 2007 meeting 6-1 in Columbus.
First Round Success = UIC or Michigan: UIC is making its 12th-straight NCAA Tournament and has won the Horizon League conference the last 14 seasons... Michigan is hosting its first ever NCAA Regional while the program is making its ninth consecutive and 12th overall NCAA Championship appearance... No. 19 Denise Muresan was named the BIG Ten Player of the Year, Mimi Nguyen was selected as Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Ronni Bernstein was picked as the Coach of the Year.
A Program First: DePaul had a list of goals this season, and making the NCAA Championship was at the top of its list... in 2009 the Blue Demons were one of the last teams left out of the field of 64 and with that in mind head coach Mark Ardizzone beefed up the team's schedule so his team was not left out in 2010... DePaul went 7-5 against nationally ranked teams this season to earn reach as high as No. 21 in the Campbell's ITA Collegiate Tennis Poll. Of DePaul's 12 duals against nationally ranked teams, DePaul played 11 on the road or at a neutral site.
A Classic Partnership: Anna Redecsi and Selma Salkovic became the first DePaul tandem to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA 32-team Doubles Championship... the pair reached the quarterfinals of the ITA Indoor Championship in November after becoming the first DePaul pair to win the Midwest Regional... Redecsi/Salkovic enter the NCAA Championship with a 29-7 mark and are 7-4 against other Nationally ranked pairs... have five wins over top-30 pairs this season.
BIG EAST Championship: The Blue Demons reached the finals of the BIG EAST Championship for the second consecutive season and lost to Notre Dame in the Championship Dual in both 2009 & 2010... the Blue Demons', 4-0 win over No. 24 USF in the semifinals was the team's highest ranked win of the season... DePaul reached the semifinals by topping Louisville 4-0 in the quarters.
BIG EAST Honors: DePaul's Anna Redecsi, Katarina Milinkovic and Selma Salkovic were all named All-BIG EAST... Redecsi was one of three unanimous selections to the All-Conference team... she also earned the award as a junior... Milinkovic won her second All-Conference honor while Salkovic picked up her first.
Without Notre Dame: Of DePaul's five losses, three have come against Notre Dame (Ranked No. 5 and 7, respectively) this season... the Blue Demons other two losses came on the road at then-No. 70 Utah and No. 54 Iowa... if you take out DePaul's matches with Notre Dame; DePaul is 39-5 in duals against the rest of the country in the last two seasons... DePaul is 0-5 against Notre Dame in that same time span.
Looking at the Rankings: DePaul entered the ITA/Campbell's team rankings, on Jan. 26 No. 45, reached program-high No. 21 on March 30 and is No. 30 entering the NCAA Regional... Anna Redecsi is currently ranked No. 72 in singles... Selma Salkovic and Redecsi have been ranked as high as No. 9 in the doubles rankings and enter the NCAA Championship ranked at No. 18..
ITA Indoor Championship: Anna Redecsi and Selma Salkovic became the first DePaul pair to reach the ITA Indoor Championship... the pair topped then-No. 15 Notre Dame's Kristy Frilly and Kali Krisik to become the first Blue Demon pair to reach the Indoor Championship... the pair won their first match dual against SMU Pavi Francis and Marta Lesniak but fell Tennessee's No. 1 tandem of Natalie Puluskota and Catlin Whoriskey.
A couple of notes: DePaul shutout six opponents this season... DePaul is 16-0 when it wins the doubles point this season.
Weekly Accolades: Selma Salkovic and Sandra Zmak were each named the BIG EAST Women's Tennis player of the Week once this season, while Anna Redecsi received the honor twice.