SKILLMAN, NJ (Feb. 6) - The field of 16 is set for the 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship. The University of Virginia will serve as the host institution of the 26th annual Championship at The Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Virginia.
An impressive 14 of the 15 No. 1 seeds that participated in the fifth annual ITA Kick-Off Weekend were able to advance to Charlottesville. Alabama, Baylor, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC managed to fend off the competition; the Ole Miss Rebels were not as fortunate. Vanderbilt emerged from the Ole Miss site as the No. 3 seed to earn the right to compete for the prestigious national title.
A total of five conferences will be represented at this year's Championship, with the ACC and SEC each placing four teams in the draw. The Big Ten and Pac-12 are sending three teams a piece to Charlottesville, while the Big 12 will have two squads in the field of 16. For the complete draw, click here.
For complete coverage of the 2013 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates and news from the weekend's events. Use the hashtag #ITAIndoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "ITAIndoors" to find others who are tweeting from across the nation about this year's Championship, Feb. 8-11.
Below is an in-depth look at the 16 teams in the hunt for the 2013 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship crown. (SEC Only)
Alabama: The Alabama Crimson Tide will be making its first appearance in the ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship. Alabama comes in with a ranking of No. 9 in the latest ITA National Women's Team Rankings and is seeded seventh. The Crimson Tide is 4-0 so far this season, securing three victories over ranked foes (No. 19 Clemson, No. 38 TCU, and No. 50 Memphis). Alabama has four players with a national singles ranking, led by 12th-ranked Mary Anne Macfarlane and 13th-ranked Alexa Guarachi. Freshmen Maya Jansen (59th) and Natalia Maynetto (105th) have also earned an ITA National Women's Singles ranking for their solid play so far this season. The duo of Macfarlane and Guarachi is also ranked second nationally in doubles. The Crimson Tide will be up against the Northwestern Wildcats on day one of the Championship.
Georgia: The Georgia Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 6 in the ITA Women's Team Rankings and are seeded fourth in this year's Championship. Georgia has a record of 3-0 on the young season, posting wins over No. 19 Clemson, No. 62 Georgia State and No. 70 Columbia. The Bulldogs are led in singles by eighth-ranked Lauren Herring, who appears to be ready for a bounce-back season after missing much of last year with an injury. Three other Georgia players are ranked in the latest ITA Women's Singles Rankings: Maho Kowase (18), Kate Fuller (54), and Makenzie Craft (76). The Bulldogs also have two doubles tandems ranked inside the top 25 nationally, but only 22nd-ranked Lilly Kimbell and Kowase will be competing together this week. Georgia will play the Texas Longhorns on day one.
Texas A&M: SEC newcomer Texas A&M sit at No. 13 in the latest ITA Women's Team Rankings. The Aggies have only played two matches to this point this spring, collecting a 4-1 win over No. 54 North Texas before defeating No. 28 Arizona 4-0 to advance to the 2013 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship. Perennial top 10 player Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar is the top singles player for Texas A&M, as she is ranked third in the nation, while Cristina Stancu is currently 45th and Wen Sun is 82nd. Stancu, a transfer from Maryland, has also added to the Aggies' depth in doubles, teaming up with freshman Stefania Hristov as the seventh-ranked doubles pair in the ITA Women's Doubles Rankings. Texas A&M will play sixth-seeded North Carolina in its first match.
Vanderbilt: A dangerous unseeded squad in the 2013 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship draw, the Vanderbilt Commodores enter the event ranked No. 21 in the ITA Women's Team Rankings. However, the Commodores are 4-0 on the year with victories at home against No. 14 Northwestern (4-2), at No. 22 Georgia Tech (6-1), and on a neutral court against No. 24 Yale (4-1) and No. 31 Illinois (4-1). Vanderbilt has three players nationally-ranked in singles, including 91st-ranked Marie Casares, 102nd-ranked Courtney Colton, and 115th-ranked Frances Altick. The Commodores face the tough task of taking on top-seeded UCLA in their first match of the Championship.