ELON, N.C. – The 75th-ranked Elon University women’s tennis team will make its NCAA Tournament debut tomorrow afternoon in Athens, Ga., when it takes on the top-seeded Georgia Bulldogs at 4 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Center.
ELON vs. GEORGIA: Entering the 2014 season, the Phoenix had never matched up against the Bulldogs. However, this will be the second time the two teams square off this season. In the first match between the two, Georgia, then ranked No. 4 in the country, ousted Elon 4-0 in the ITA Kickoff Weekend Tournament in Athens on January 24.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Georgia finished the season as the No. 1 team in the country after winning the SEC Tournament championship by upsetting the top seed in that tournament, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Georgia went 21-4 this season, but posted a perfect 11-0 mark at home. The Bulldogs have three players — Lauren Herring, Silvia Garcia and Maho Kowase — ranked in the ITA Top 20.
LOOKING BACK: Last time the Phoenix took the court for a match was April 19 in Chattanooga, Tenn. On that date, the Phoenix earned its first-ever championship at the Division I level to earn this trip to the NCAA Tournament, as Elon knocked off the second-seeded Samford Bulldogs in the SoCon finals to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Frida Jansaker was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, as the senior went 3-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles with Maria Camara Ruiz to help Elon clinch the title. Along the way, Elon topped fifth-seeded UNC Greensboro in the quarterfinals, then upset No. 1 Furman in the semifinals.
POSTSEASON AWARDS: For the third consecutive season, Jordan Johnston was selected to the first-team all-SoCon squad. The senior went 12-10 this season while posting a 6-3 mark in SoCon play. All of her matches were played from the No. 1 singles position. Elon’s other two seniors —Jansaker and #Bryn Khoury# — were selected to the all-SoCon second team, which was selected by position. Jansaker went 17-4 this season while posting a perfect 9-0 mark in conference play. Khoury posted a 14-5 mark this season. Jansaker earned the No. 2 spot on the team while Khoury was selected to the No. 4 spot. Johnston was also selected to the all-SoCon second team in doubles with Barbora Lazarova at the No. 1 position. The two went 10-5 together while posting a 6-3 mark in conference action.
JANSAKER HONORED: In addition to her postseason awards, Jansaker was also honored this season with three awards from the Southern Conference throughout the season. The senior was selected as the SoCon Player of the Week on April 14 for all matches played April 6-13 after going 4-0 in singles and doubles against UNC Greensboro and Western Carolina. Jansaker also earned the league’s Player of the Month award for all matches played throughout April, a month in which she went 8-0 in singles play and 6-2 in doubles with Camara Ruiz. She was also selected as the conference’s Student-Athlete of the Week on February 19 after helping Elon come from behind to beat UNC Wilmington, 4-3. Nathan Dean of the men’s soccer team, Sam Coffer of the women’s basketball team and Brian Kowalski of the men’s tennis team are the other three Elon athletes to earn the Student-Athlete of the Week award this academic year.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Both Lazarova and Johnston have also been honored this season as the Southern Conference’s Player of the Week, which came in back-to-back weeks during March. Lazarova picked up the honor March 18 and Johnston earned the award one week later on March 25. Individually, Lazarova earned a 15-6 record this season and has a nine-match winning streak under her belt from earlier in the season. Johnston finished 12-10 overall, playing all of her matches at No. 1 singles.
WINNING WAYS: After dropping its first four matches of the season, Elon went on an eight-match winning streak before having it snapped by the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on March 16. In the last two seasons, the Phoenix has had winning streaks of 11 matches, 10 matches and eight matches while only dropping 12 matches. Currently, Elon is riding a five-match winning streak that dates back to April 10 when the Phoenix topped UNC Greensboro, 6-1.
FRIENDS OF JACLYN: On March 9, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams held Friends of Jaclyn Day at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center to raise awareness for pediatric brain tumors. A week later, a very special guest named Jake Ingham joined the Phoenix family when the 12-year old signed a contract with the teams. To read the full story about Ingham joining the teams, click HERE.
LOOKING AHEAD: Should the Phoenix top Georgia, Elon would move on to the Round of 32 to take on the winner of the Arizona/Florida State match on Saturday, May 10, at 4 p.m. Arizona and Florida State earned the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Athens pod, respectively. They play on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. prior to the Elon/Georgia match.