CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 10 Virginia women’s tennis team (0-0) will begin dual play for the 2021 season on Saturday when the Cavaliers take on Tennessee (3-0) in the ITA Kickoff Weekend as part of a four-team regional hosted by Ohio State.
Also competing as part of the weekend regional are the Buckeyes, who are ranked No. 13, and Syracuse. The winners of Saturday’s matches will face off on Sunday for a berth in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships to be held at Oklahoma State (Feb. 5-8). The losers of Saturday’s matches will face each other in a consolation match on Sunday morning.
ITA KICKOFF WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Saturday, January 23
9 a.m. – No. 13 Ohio State vs. Syracuse
12 p.m – No. 10 Virginia vs. Tennessee
Sunday, January 24
10 a.m. – Consolation Match
1 p.m. – Championship Match
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live stats and a court-by-court video stream will be provided by Ohio State and linked at VirginiaSports.com. Fans can also get updates throughout the tournament by following the program’s official Twitter account (@UVAWomensTennis).
CAVALIERS IN THE TEAM RANKINGS
The Oracle/ITA Rankings have the Cavaliers coming in at No. 10 in the preseason team rankings. Virginia is one of five teams from the ACC ranked among the top 10 in the initial poll with North Carolina (No. 1), Duke (No. 6), NC State (No. 8) and Florida State (No. 9). It’s the highest preseason ranking for the Cavaliers since the 2016 spring season.
HOOS IN THE INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS
The Cavaliers have five players ranked in the initial singles rankings this season, with sophomore Natasha Subhash (Fairfax, Va.) leading the way at No. 11. She is joined by senior Rosie Johanson (Abbotsford, British Columbia) at No. 47, freshman Emma Navarro (Charleston, S.C.) at No. 80, junior Sofia Munera (Pereira, Colombia) at No. 91 and junior Amber O’Dell (New Milford, N.J.) at No. 104.
The Cavaliers have one doubles pairing in the preseason rankings with the duo of Johanson and senior Vivian Glozman (Bellevue, Wash.) coming in at No. 31.
Navarro rounded out the rankings as she was tabbed the No. 5 newcomer nationally.
A LOOK AT THE LADY VOLS
Tennessee enters the weekend with an overall record of 3-0 after posting a pair of wins in a doubleheader with UT-Martin and a victory over Furman last week. The Lady Vols have three players in the ITA singles rankings, led by junior Rebeka Mertena (No. 52). Also ranked in singles are fifth-year Johanna Silva (No. 85) and sophomore Carly Briggs (No. 118). Tennessee does not have any pairings in the doubles rankings.
THE SERIES WITH TENNESSEE
Virginia and Tennessee have met 12 times with the Lady Vols holding a 7-5 lead in the all-time series. The teams first met in the 1977 season when the Cavaliers took a 5-3 victory over the Lady Vols in Charlottesville. Virginia has won three straight in the series, including a 4-3 victory over Tennessee in last season’s ITA Kickoff Weekend. The teams have played twice in the ITA Kickoff Weekend with the Lady Vols claiming the first meeting in 2009 before Virginia’s win last year.
LAST TIME OUT WITH TENNESSEE
The squads met last season in the championship match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend as part of a four-team regional played at Kansas. Then No. 20 Virginia rallied for the 4-3 victory over the No. 22 Lady Vols to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Tennessee claimed the doubles point and built a 3-1 lead on the Cavaliers before Virginia got wins from Glozman, senior Chloe Gullickson and Munera to take the victory. All three players claimed three-set battles to win the match with Munera clinching the victory in a third-set tiebreak over Tennessee’s Silva.
UP NEXT FOR VIRGINIA
Following the ITA Kickoff Weekend, the Cavaliers are scheduled to return home for a pair of matches next week. Virginia is set to host VCU at 3 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 28) before facing No. 14 South Carolina at 4 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 30). Both matches are scheduled to be played indoors at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.