October 24, 2007

Spartans Women's Tennis Team Headed For Columbia

Oct. 24, 2007

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The USC Upstate women's tennis team will close its first Division I fall season at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships at the University of South Carolina's Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center. The Spartans will enter the meet playing without two players in their regular starting lineup in senior Susana Hernandez and junior Maria Herrera, both of whom will be with the cross country team competing at the Atlantic Sun Championships this weekend. Junior Anna Novo, who advanced to the round of 32 at the ITA Indoor Southeast Regionals, will look for another successful tournament to close her fall after winning titles at both the USC Upstate Fall Tournament and the Residence Inn North Wolfpack Invitational at N.C. State.

Top 6
Junior Anna Novo enters the weekend needing just one singles win to enter the top six in school history. The Caracas, Venezuela, native has 45 career wins, just one behind Kristina Ribicic, who posted a 46-26 record from 1999-2003. Novo, the only women's player in the history of the program to earn All-American honors, has posted a 45-14 career record and has opened her first season at the Division I level with a 10-1 record.

A Historical Group
Heading into the 2007-08 season, all six returners to the Spartans had already ethched their names into the school's record book. All six players are in the top 15 in the school's combined (singles and doubles) wins charts. Senior Susana Hernandez, who finished the fall with seven singles wins and six doubles wins moved into second place in school history with 100 wins behind only senior Diana Martinez, who has 107. Junior Anna Novo, thanks to a remarkable 18-2 combined record, moved from a tie for ninth to seventh in school history with 80 career wins. Junior Maria Herrera, with a 12-5 record now has 74 career wins, 10th-best in school history, as she passed classmate Daniela Lovera, who, with 62 wins, was sidelined with an injury this fall. Junior Vivian Neuenschwander, thanks to a 7-2 combined record, is 11th in school history with 60 combined wins.

Spartans Complete Successful Wofford Fall Challenge
The Wofford Fall Challenge featured play between two schools in singles and then playing another school in doubles, so it is not a true dual match format and no team scoring was recorded during the tournament. On Friday, the Spartans posted a 4-2 singles victory against Wofford and a 3-0 win in doubles against High Point. They dropped four of six singles matches to East Carolina. On Saturday, the Spartans rebounded to post a 5-1 singles victory against High Point, a 3-0 win in doubles against Wofford and a 2-1 doubles win against East Carolina. Novo led the Spartans with perfect 3-0 singles and doubles marks and the doubles pair of junior senior Susana Hernandez and junior Vivian Neuenschwander also went a perfect 3-0.

A Century's Worth of Wins
The Spartans currently have the only two players in school history to reach 100-career wins. Senior Diana Martinez was the first to cross the mark, doing so with an 8-3 doubles win with partner Maria Herrera at Columbus State in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2007. Martinez has 57 singles wins and 51 doubles victories. Senior Susana Hernandez just crossed the mark, winning her last match at the Wofford Fall Challenge, 6-0, 6-3, over High Point's Caroline Mount. Hernandez has walked away victorious 49 times in singles and 51 times and doubles.

Novo Earns Two More Titles At Wolfpack Invitational
Junior Anna Novo won both the A1 flight singles title and the A2 doubles title as the USC Upstate women's tennis team finished up a strong showing at the Residence Inn North Wolfpack Invitational. Novo, who beat the tournament's No. 1 seed, Elon's Deanna Bailey, in the first round, took out North Carolina State's Neals Barringer, 6-4, 6-1, in the finals to take her second straight singles tournament title. Novo also won the USC Upstate Fall Tournament last weekend. In doubles play, Novo teamed with freshman Emilia Milovanovic to down teammates senior Susana Hernandez and junior Maria Herrera, 8-2.

Women, Novo Dominate At USC Upstate Fall Tournament
Junior Anna Novo won both the women's singles `A' draw and doubles titles at the USC Upstate Fall Tennis Tournament, but she wasn't the only Spartan to find success at the tournament. Three Spartans reached the semifinals of the `A' draw in singles, with Novo advancing to the finals after Diana Martinez withdrew. She met teammate Susana Hernandez in the finals, winning, 6-3, 6-2. Hernandez finished 2-1 during the tournament.

In doubles, Novo teamed with freshman Emilia Milovanovic to win three matches en route to the championships, beating Wofford's Mary Ellen Henry and Cayley Wetzig, 8-2 in the finals. The Spartans' other women's doubles' team, Martinez and junior Maria Herrera advanced to the semifinals before falling to Henry and Wetzig, 8-6.

Winning Ways
As the fall season comes to a close, the Upstate women are a combined 51-21, a winning clip of .708. The men finished the fall at a combined 70-34, a winning percentage of .673.

Three in a Row
The USC Upstate women's tennis team closed its Division II era by earning three straight bids to the NCAA Regionals, advancing the the NCAA Nationals for the first time in 2007.