Five Longhorns set to compete at the season-opening Duke Invitational in Cary, N.C.
WHAT: Texas opens the 2011 fall tournament season with the Duke Invitational, an event featuring several schools in multiple singles and doubles flights.
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Sept. 18
WHERE: Cary Tennis Park – Cary, N.C.
WHO: Texas will join teams from Duke, Texas A&M, William and Mary, Illinois, Miami (Fla.), Virginia, North Carolina, Purdue, Alabama and Ole Miss. Texas will be represented by Aeriel Ellis, Krista Damico, Noel Scott, Elizabeth Begley and Cierra Gaytan-Leach.
Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain
Thoughts on season-opening tournament
“Our team came in this semester very fit and ready to go and compete. They have played a lot of matches amongst themselves over the past couple of weeks. They have arranged their own practice matches and practice hits outside of the time we’ve had them. They are a hungry bunch and ready to go. This is a great tournament at Duke. It’s an incredibly high national level of play. It’s a really big tournament that is separated out into different flights. The best layer from each team is one singles flight, or bracket, together. It’s a really good chance for our girls to get some big wins.”
On how this tournament prepares the team for the rest of the fall season
“The quality of players in this tournament will ready them for the rest of the fall. It’s a perfect event to groom them for the fall. These ladies know, based on last year, that you have to get out of the blocks quickly. Hopefully they’re ready to do that.”
ITA Preseason Singles Rankings
14. Aeriel Ellis
THE 2011-12 LONGHORNS: Texas returns four regular singles starters from the 2010-11 squad that reached the finals of the Big 12 Championship and the round of 32 at the NCAA Championships.
The Horns are led by junior Aeriel Ellis, who last season became UT’s first ITA All-American since 1999. The Californian has qualified to compete in all six national championship events contested during her two seasons as a Longhorn. She reached the round of 16 of the singles draw at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Senior Krista Damico totaled a 21-16 overall singles record last season while playing primarily at No. 2 singles. UT returns a pair of talented sophomores who saw significant time in the dual-match lineup last season. Juliana Gajic totaled a 13-6 dual-match record, primarily at No. 5 singles, and Cierra Gaytan-Leach totaled a 9-3 dual-match record.