May 20, 2008
Tulsa, Okla.- For the first time since 2005, Florida State is sending a member of the women’s tennis team to the NCAA Individual Championships in Tulsa, Okla. Freshman Katie Rybakova will kick off the tournament Wednesday, May 21, at 12:00 p.m. EST against Gabriela Niculescu of Southern California.
Playing in the number one singles slot, Rybakova (Coral Springs, Fla.) led the Seminoles to the third-round of the ACC Tournament for just the second time in school history. Rybakova also helped the team earn the chance to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
“We are very excited for Katie to get going tomorrow,” said head coach Jennifer Hyde. “She’s been out here in Tulsa for a few days preparing and she has adjusted to the environment and taken some of this championship atmosphere in. Now it’s just a matter of lacing them up and playing some ball.”
The power-hitting rookie posted an overall 28-11 record for the year which included two huge victories over Top 15 opponents Ellah Nze (#14-Duke) and Amanda McDowell (#4-Georgia Tech). During fall play, Rybakova also earned four victories over major Division I opponents who would go on to earn spots in the Top 30 rankings during the spring. During the course of the season, Rybakova was ranked nationally as high as No. 16 in singles and No. 33 in doubles. She was also named to the All-ACC team and earned a spot in singles and doubles play at the FILA/ITA Riviera All-American Tournament in the fall.
“She’s ready to go,” said Hyde. “She’s feeling confident and just very excited to compete in this environment. She knows she’s among the best players in the nation and I think she’s got a lot to prove to herself–but she still has to worry about taking things one stroke at a time.”
The Russian-native has just two losses in her last 15 matches heading into the individual championships in Tulsa. First round matches begin on Wednesday, May 21 at 11:00 a.m. EST.