INDIANAPOLIS - (Hawaii Athletics) The University of Hawai'i women's tennis team (15-6) will be travelling to Evanston, Ill. for its inaugural appearance in the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships. The Rainbow Wahine will face five-time defending Big East champs Notre Dame (20-7) in a first round match on Friday, May 11 at the Christie Tennis Center on the campus of Northwestern University.
Host Northwestern (16-7), earned the 13th seed after recently winning their 12th Big Ten regular season champion, will face two-time defending Mid-American champions, Akron (24-3) in the site's other first-round match. The winners advance to the second round on Sunday, May 12.
The Rainbow Wahine learned their destination after watching the NCAA Tournament selection show which was broadcast on NCAA.com. UH will be playing a Fighting Irish team who came to Honolulu earlier this spring and defeated the 'Bows 6-1. It was Hawai'i's last loss before ending the season on a nine-game win streak.
It's been a season of firsts for the Rainbow Wahine. The 'Bows earned an ITA ranking for the first time in school history on Feb. 28, 2012 and have been ranked for the last 10 weeks in the Top 75 and are currently No. 61 in the latest poll released last week. Jamie Pawid became the first Rainbow Wahine to ever earn WAC Freshman of the Year honors and last week, the 'Bows captured its first-ever WAC Championship with a 4-3 win over No. 51 and perennial power, Fresno State.
Hawai'i is led by senior Barbara Pinterova, who plays No. 1 singles and doubles for the Rainbow Wahine. Overall she is 15-11 with a 12-9 mark since taking over the No. 1 singles slot. In doubles, she and partner Pawid, are 9-5 since joining forces at the No. 1 singles position. Junior Katarina Poljakova started the season playing in the No. 1 position at 0-4, but since moving to No. 2 singles, she has logged a 11-5 record for UH. In No. 2 doubles, she and partner Xenia Suworowa have posted a 9-5 record together. Playing No. 3 singles has been Pawid who has been solid for the 'Bows in her rookie season. She is 21-9 overall with a 15-3 mark since shifting to play No. 3 singles. She has won her last nine-straight matches.
Notre Dame, who is currently ranked No. 17, are led by a trio of all-Big East players: Kristy Frilling, Britney Sanders and Big East Player of the Year, Shannon Mathews. Mathews, a four-time selection to the All-BIG EAST Team and 2011 BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player, currently ranks 32nd in the nation in singles while checking in at eighth in doubles.