September 19, 2011

Lady Saints Set to Open Fall Season at ITA Regional

Contact: Steve Cunha,

DAHLONEGA, GA - The North Georgia women's tennis team opens their fall season competing in the 2011 USTA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Regional Championships September 23-36, hosted by Francis Marion and played at the Palmetto Tennis Center.

The 2011 USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Championship is the Lady Saints first tournament of the 2011-12 season. Head coach Kent Norsworthy led North Georgia to an 11-11 overall record last season, while going 3-9 in Peach Belt Conference action. Norsworthy looks to build on the success of last year's squad with four of his top six players returning for the 2011-12 season. Norsworthy is also looking to fill the shoes of Stasa Vujosevic with newcomers Nela Handac and Maria V Casseres Romero.

Laura Chapman returns for her sophomore year looking to improve on her 13-7 overall record with a 6-6 mark in Peach Belt play. Chapman is the only returning player with a .500 record in conference play.

Juliana Moscoco-Chiang and Jordan Poole return for North Georgia. Both individuals had an 11-11 overall record with four conference wins in 12 matches. Moscoco-Chiang won four of her last five matches during the 2010-11 season, while Poole ended her sophomore campaign with four straight victories. 

Audrey Marlette had a successful freshman year for the Lady Saints, ending with an 11-11 overall record, while collecting three wins in Peach Belt play. Marlette also closed out the year with four consecutive victories.

Last year at the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional, the Lady Saints had an impressive performance led by Laura Chapman. In the Women's Singles B-Draw, Chapman won four straight matches after an opening round bye to advance to the semifinals.

Marlette advanced past Converse College's Lindsey Kelly in a three-set thriller 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the second round, while Jordan Poole recorded wins by default in the first two rounds before defeating Converse's Stella Ford 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in the round of 32. Moscoso-Chiang dropped to the consolation round, but made her way through the draw with a series of default wins.

Last year in doubles action, Chapman and Vujosevic opened the weekend with an 8-2 victory over Tracy Bain and Kelly Edwards from GCSU and Converse College's Lindsey Kelly and Olivia Self before falling to a duo from Flagler College.

The 2011 USTA/ITA Southeast Regional is an individual tournament with 400 players taking part from schools in the Peach Belt Conference, Conference Carolinas and the South Atlantic Conference. This year's tournament takes place at the Palmetto Tennis Center is located in Sumter, South Carolina. The Palmetto Tennis center features 24 courts, 18 of which are lighted.

The Small College (NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College) singles and doubles champions from the USTA/ITA Regional Championships will advance to the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, held October 14-17 at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Alabama. The USTA/ITA National Small College Championships are comprised of the eight regional champions (and/or at-large selections) from NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges.

The singles and doubles champions at each divisional level will then compete to become the overall "Super Bowl" champions. The "Super Bowl" champions earn wild cards into the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships with the opportunity to win the culminating event held at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

The most unique element of the USTA/ITA Intercollegiate Championships program is the fact that all levels of varsity college tennis (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College) are competing in one comprehensive event, and any ITA varsity student-athlete has the opportunity to play and win at the prestigious USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

The ITA Regional Championships, sponsored by the USTA, date back to 1981 and for nearly two decades were also known as the Rolex Regional Championships. The ITA Regional Championships featured the top men's and women's players from each of the ITA's regions. All in all, 8,000 varsity tennis players from 600 schools participated in the USTA/ITA Regional Championships.