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STORRS, Conn. - The UConn women's tennis team will open play in the 2015 American Athletic Conference Championship on Wednesday morning with a first round match-up against East Carolina from the Michael D. Case Tennis Center at the University of Tulsa.
The Huskies are in the midst of one of the program's best seasons and enter the championship tournament having won seven of their last eight matches. UConn finished the season 14-8 overall and 3-2 against AAC competition. The Huskies closed the regular season with three-straight wins against league opponents including 4-1 victories over ECU and Cincinnati at home last weekend. In last Friday's win over the Pirates, the Huskies opened the match dropping the doubles point but raillied by ending the match with singles wins in the top-four spots.
The winner of Wednesday morning's match-up will move on to face the No. 1 seeded Houston Cougars in Thursday's quarterfinal round. The Cougars are the top-ranked team in The American heading into the tournament, coming in at No. 29 in the ITA weekly national rankings. Houston dealt the Huskies a 6-1 loss earlier this season. The Cougars are one of four nationally ranked teams heading into this week's tournament. They are joined by Tulane who is No. 55 this week, tournament host Tulsa at No. 71 and SMU at No. 73.
The UConn line-up features a trio of freshmen in Yelyzaveta Pletnyeva (Vinnitsa, Ukraine), Summer Walker (Conyers, Ga.) and Zaina Zaki (West Chester, Pa.), a pair of sophomores in Emma Alderman (Hingham, Mass.) and Shea Flanagan (Overland Park, Kans.) and junior Srna Stosljevic (Novi Sad, Serbia), all of which posted winning records in singles play this season.
Stosljevic held down the top-spot for the Huskies for the second-consecutive season and played to a team-best 23-9 mark. She leads four Huskies who have posted 20 or more singles wins this season. Playing at No. 1 in dual matches, she finished 15-6 enters the tournament 7-3 in her last 10 matches. During the past two season play at No. 1, Stosljevic has rang up 43 singles victories for the Huskies.
Playing at No. 2, Alderman posted a 21-13 record during her sophomore season, winning 11 times this spring. During her two seasons on campus, Alderman has posted a 38-25 mark playing all her matches at No. 2. Classmate Flanagan heads into the postseason riding a break-out season where she finished second on the team with 22 wins. She finished this spring with a 13-5 mark playing at No. 6 and rides into the tournament on a seven-match winning streak.
Walker leads the UConn freshmen class with a 20-11 singles record heading into the tournament after posting a 10-7 record in the spring playing at both the No. 4 and No. 5 spots. Zaki has also played in those two positions all season and finished the year with a 16-15 mark. Pletnyeva joined the UConn roster for the spring semester and boasted a 13-6 record playing at No. 3. She will enter her first postseason on a two-match winning streak and with an 8-2 mark over her last 10 matches. After leading the Huskies to wins over Fairfield, Temple and Villanova, she was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week.
The Huskies three doubles teams all boasts winning records on the season led at the top by the tandem of Stosljevic and senior Maxene Weinberg (Marietta, Ga.). The duo posted a 12-7 record this season and are heading into the postseason with a 7-3 record over their last 10 matches. Alderman and Zaki also posted a 12-7 mark this season, playing in the No. 2 position. They enter the post season winners of four-straight and are 8-2 over the last 10 matches. After joining the UConn line-up in January, Pletnyeva teamed with fellow rookie Walker to finish the spring 10-6 at No. 3 doubles.
All matches of the 2015 American Athletic Conference Tennis Championships will feature live video coverage, with the finals of both championships featuring a comprehensive video production. For more information and full coverage of the 2015 Championships, visit TheAmerican.org/tennis and follow @American_Tenn on Twitter.