By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 24, 2004
Three Wildcats will open their women's tennis seasons across the country at the Cissie Leary Invitational.
Senior Kelly Perry, junior Iza Ferreira and freshman Camelia Todorova will compete in the Philadelphia tournament tomorrow through Sunday, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania.
Arizona will match up against many unfamiliar foes while competing as the only school from the West Coast. The field is set including Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Penn State, Temple, Maryland, Cleveland State and Pennsylvania.
"It'll be good competition," UA head coach Vicky Maes said. "It should be kind of interesting because we never get to go to the East Coast so we'll see completely different competition. That's the reason why we entered."
The tournament features individual draws in singles and doubles, but no full team competition. Perry, Ferreira and Todorova will each compete in the singles competition, and the team of Perry and Todorova will compete in doubles.
Being the first match of the season for these players, Maes said "feistiness" takes precedence over the final score. She said she hopes this tournament helps her team prepare for team competition.
"The most important thing for me is that they fight hard," she said. "I want to see them play tough and play every point and just see their competitive side. For us (the fall season) is more of a confidence builder than anything else because once we get into the spring we really don't want to have any players who are not well prepared competition-wise or not feeling good about their games."
Todorova will be making her collegiate debut after graduating from Mt. Everest Academy in La Jolla, Calif. Playing across the country should pose no difficulty for this freshman, who said she has traveled to 24 different countries for international competition. However, Maes said there's a big difference between playing junior tennis and college tennis.
"It's going to be hard for her," Maes said. "She'll be playing girls who are three, four years older then her. I think it will take her quite a bit longer than she actually thinks to adjust to the college atmosphere, but at the same time she's a hard worker and I expect great things from her."
Todorova said she realizes the transition will be significant, but said she hopes to perform her best on the court.
"I'm really excited," she said. "I wouldn't consider it a dream, I'd just say it's a really good opportunity."
At the other end of the spectrum, Perry said she hopes to compete at the same level as her strong junior year while enjoying her final season.
"Every match I'm going to take as my last match and I'm going to have fun this year because it's my last year, so every tournament will hopefully be memorable for me," Perry said. "I want to win (this weekend), but I'm more worried about improving my game."