BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University tennis team opens the 2012-13 season this weekend, heading to the Muirfield Collegiate Tennis Invitational. The three-day, seven-team event begins Friday morning (Sept. 14) at The Country Club at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
Four members of the Falcons will participate in this weekend's event. That list includes senior Maddy Eccleston, juniors Nikki Chiricosta and Emily Reuland and freshman Katie Brozovich. BGSU will be joined in the clay court tournament by players from Akron, Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Louisville and host Ohio State.
"We are looking forward to getting the season underway with some very strong competition this weekend," said BGSU head coach Penny Dean. "This tournament is a great event at a first-class facility. The fans there love their tennis, and it should be a fun environment for our players.
"I will also be interested to see how we fare on a different surface. This is the first time in my career that we have played on clay courts, which adds a different dynamic as well. I think some of our players, especially Nikki and Katie, have games that are suited to these types of courts. It should be a fun way for these four players to begin the season."
The tournament features a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Play begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday with eight doubles matches, followed by singles at 11:00 a.m.
Saturday's play also will commence with doubles matches at 9:00 a.m., followed by singles play starting at 11:00 a.m. The main draw doubles semifinals begin at 8:00 p.m. Saturday
Play concludes Sunday (Sept. 16), starting with doubles consolation matches. The doubles final is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., with singles semifinals set for 11:30 a.m. and the singles final at 2:00 p.m.
Brozovich has been slotted into a play-in match, as there are a total of 35 singles competitors among the field. The Falcon freshman will play Cincinnati's Caitlin O'Gara on Friday morning, with the winner meeting eighth-seeded Manuela Velasquez of Louisville in first-round action at 2:00 p.m.
Eccleston will face Ohio State's Gabby Steele, the tournament's seventh seed, in the opening round at 11:00 a.m. Friday, while Reuland will meet EKU's Melissa Gerritsen in a 12:30 p.m. match. Chiricosta, seeded fifth in the singles draw, will meet the winner of the play-in match between OSU's Kelsey Becker and Akron's Ksenia Berestetska.
In doubles play, Chiricosta and Reuland will face the Louisville tandem of Alex Tachovsky and Rebecca Shine. The BGSU juniors have been seeded fourth for the tourney. The Falcons' other team also will meet a pair of Cardinals, as Eccleston and Brozovich will face UL's Velasquez and Julia Fellerhoff. That Louisville duo is seeded second among the tournament's doubles teams.
There are back draws scheduled in both singles and doubles, with each singles competitor and doubles team guaranteed to play a total of three matches on the weekend.
UL's Fellerhoff won the singles title at last year's Muirfield event. She is the number-one seed in this year's tournament, and is currently ranked No. 120 by the ITA. The UA duo of Zara Harutyunyan and Prang Pantusart captured the 2011 doubles crown. Pantusart is in the field again this year, paired with Madison Cohen.
The 2012-13 season marks the first time since 1997-98 that the Falcons will not open the season at home. Dean's club will return to Northwest Ohio to host the BGSU Invitational next weekend (Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22).