Women's Tennis Earns Bid to 2009 ITA Kick-off Tournament

BOISE, Idaho The Boise State women’s tennis team has been absent from competition for nearly two weeks after participating in the NCAA First Round in Tennessee in May. The Broncos, however, are already looking towards their 2009 spring season. On Wednesday, June 4, the Broncos received word they will be participating in the ITA Kick-off Tournament which qualifies the nation’s top-16 teams to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

Boise State, the 2008 Western Athletic Conference tournament runner-up, will head to Clemson University in South Carolina to participate in the four-team qualifying round. The Broncos, who hold the No. 4 seed, will face No. 1 seed Clemson at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 31. The No. 2 seed, Auburn, will take on No. 3 seeded Louisville that afternoon at 2 p.m. The winner of each match will face off at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 1 and will fight for the qualifying spot for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The losers of Saturday’s matches will play at 9 a.m.

Selections for the Kick-off Tournament were conducted through a draft on June 4, with the top four teams per region (according the final ITA national team rankings) and the next 28 teams earning invites to the tournament. With the 60 teams selected, each team was drafted out to 15 host sites hosting four teams per site with each of the winners from the sites qualifying for the ITA team championships. The ITA National Team Indoor Championships will consist of the 15 qualifying teams as well as the tournament host to make up the 16-team tournament.

“This tournament could be better than the NCAA’s,” said Boise State head coach Mark Tichenor of the tournament’s competitive level. “It's a new way they are seeding this tournament and the qualifiers this year. This year it will be an unbelievable tournament with the nation’s top teams and no weak conference champions as automatic qualifiers like at the NCAA’s.”

The Broncos earned their way to the tournament after finishing as the No. 4 ranked team in the ITA’s Central Region during the 2008 season. Arkansas, Denver and Tulsa were ranked as the No. 1, 2, and 3 teams in the region, respectively. The Broncos did well in individual rankings as well. As a sophomore during the 2008 season, Pichittra Thongdach finished as the No. 11 ranked singles player in the region while also teaming with senior Polina Kokoulina as the No. 4 doubles team in the region.

The Broncos also finished the season as the No. 46 ranked team in the ITA national team rankings with Thongdach and Kokoulina earning a No. 46 national doubles ranking.

Boise State will begin competing in the fall with individual tournaments and will likely kick-off their 2009 spring team season with the ITA Kick-off Tournament on January 31 and February 1.

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