Cougar Tennis Season Ends With Exclusion from the NCAA Tournament

May 1, 2007

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State women's tennis team season came to an unexpected end after being excluded from the NCAA Team Championship, announced Tuesday.

'It's a difficult pill to swallow when you come this close and fail to reach a goal you set for yourself,' WSU Head Coach Lisa Hart said.

The Cougars were one of two Pacific-10 Conference teams not selected for the 64-team tournament, which included Sacramento State, Brigham Young University and Oregon, teams WSU defeated during the dual match season. Thirty one automatic bids were included along with 33 at-large bids for the committee to select in the tournament. Of those 33 at-large bids the lowest ranked team to enter the tournament was No. 49 San Diego State, leaving the Cougars, one spot away.

The Cougars finished the season ranked 50th nationally with a record of 14-11. The 14 wins tied for the most victories during Hart's four-year tenure, and finished eighth in the Pacific-10 Conference for a second consecutive season. Eight of the 11 losses were to teams selected for the tournament and all 11 defeats were to teams who ended the season nationally-ranked.

The season started strong for Hart and her Cougars as they won their first five matches, which included a 5-2 victory over No. 30 BYU. WSU started Pac-10 play with a record of 8-1 after defeating No. 47 Sacramento State, 4-3. Pac-10 action proved to be a challenging task as the Cougars dropped their first four conference matches, but avenged the losses with a 4-3 victory over Northwest rival Oregon, ranked 23rd.

Seniors Amy Toth and Marjolein van de Ven will be leaving the squad after making significant contribution for the team over the years. Toth leaves her four-year legacy in the record books as she finished her stellar career with 76 wins tying her for fifth place on the all-time list. She was also the third player in school history to capture back-to-back 20 win seasons. Fellow senior van de Ven led the team in her final year with 24 victories and was the fourth player to achieve 20 back-to-back winning seasons.

'Despite not making the tournament I feel we had a great season and our program is headed in the right direction,' Hart added. 'I know our players our encouraged by how close we came and will be hungry to leave no doubt for the NCAA selection committee a year from now.

WSU will return junior Ekaterina Burduli to lead the Cougars for her senior campaign. The Tel Aviv, Israel native will contend for the all-time wins spot as she has totaled 63 victories in three seasons and is 24 wins shy from the top spot of 87 owned by Erika Perkins. Burduli will be joined by fellow returnees Aleksandra Stefanova, Aleksandra Cekic, Anastesia Opata and Bianca Selaru all of whom have made contributions on the courts.

The Cougars will host their annual end of the season banquet in the Cougar Fitness Buffet, Monday, May 7 at 6 p.m. The banquet is open to the public and will cost $17, which includes dinner. If interested please contact the tennis office and RSVP by calling 335-0310.

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