- Brad O'Hara
- Contributing Writer
The IUP women’s tennis team is just getting started as it begins the spring season ranked No. 28 nationally in Division II and looking for its seventh straight regional championship.
They started off the season picking up three wins in their first three contests against West Chester University, Oberlin College and Carnegie Mellon University.
Leading the team in the first three matches, as well as the first three tournaments of the season, was Jarka Petercakova (senior, interior design) from Slovakia.
Petercakova was the only member of the team to pick up a singles win against a nationally ranked opponent, and also won the doubles championship at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s Individual Championships with her partner, Luise von Agris (junior, international business).
“We have high expectations for ourselves,” head coach Larry Peterson said.
“Our win this past weekend at Carnegie Mellon was a good win for the team.”
“It came down to the last set. Carnegie Mellon is ranked No. 12 in the country in Division III, so that not only was a very solid start for us for the season, a good early test, but also sort of validates some of the expectations we have for this season.”
Katya Minchenkova (freshman, undeclared business) said that a main goal is to make it to the NCAA National Tournament and try to maintain a perfect record.
“The goal is to win all matches,” Minchenkova said. “No losses, only wins.”
When asked about the upcoming tests the team will face, Minchenkova focused on matches the team will play during its trip to Orlando over spring break.
“Florida is very strong in tennis,” she said. “We are going to play some really strong universities, and I think that it will be a really good test for us. It’s the top teams in all of Division II.”
The team’s next six matches will be on the road, with four of those six taking place in Orlando against Oklahoma Baptist University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, University of North Georgia and Palm Beach Atlantic University, in that order.
The other two away matches are at Denison University and Seton Hill University.
Seton Hill will be the team’s first PSAC match of the spring season.
The team will not have a home match until after spring break, March 22, when they will return to take on PSAC rival Slippery Rock University.