Women’s tennis ranked No. 50 in first ITA poll of the season

The Nittany Lion women’s tennis team begins its spring campaign ranked at No. 50 in the ITA Rankings. The first poll, which came out today, has the Nittany Lions sharing the spot with UNLV.

The Nittany Lions join six other Big Ten teams in the top 50 of the 75-team poll. Northwestern heads the conference in the rankings coming in at No. 13.

Last season the Penn State finished at No. 51 in the rankings and peaked at No. 46 in the polls during the weeks of March 20 and 27.

Senior Petra Januskova leads the way for the Nittany Lions earning a spot for herself in the singles poll at No. 27. Januskova will begin her senior season with the highest ranking of her collegiate career; her previous high was at No. 43.

Januskova had a fantastic fall season where she was invited to play in two of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation on top of taking home the singles championship at the ITA Atlantic Regional Tournament.

At the ITA/Riviera All-American Championship in California and the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championship in New York she faced some of the nation’s best collegiate players. Her impressive fall resume allowed her to move up in the rankings a remarkable 25 spots from the No. 52 spot she held in the preseason rankings. Januskova also earned the No. 2 ranking in the Atlantic Region to start the spring season after the fall.

Three more Nittany Lions are ranked in the year’s first ITA Atlantic Regional Poll. Junior Carmen Sandor enters the year ranked No. 12 in the region with Senior Chelsea Utting close behind at No. 15.

Sandor set her career high in fall-season victories this past fall with 11, with eight of those victories in singles matches. Her strong fall that included several victories over players from ranked teams earned her a spot in the first regional poll of the season.

Utting made her way into the singles rankings for the first time and the doubles poll for the second time in her career after a good fall season where she was invited to compete in the ITA/Riviera All-American Championships. At the championships, she teamed with Januskova to knock off the nation’s No. 16 ranked duo of Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith of TCU.

Freshman Devan McCluskeyis the final Nittany Lion in the first regional poll of the year, coming in at No. 18. McCluskey was impressive in her first fall of collegiate tennis, earning 14 victories, one more than the previous freshman-high set in 2008.

The Nittany Lions begin their spring season in Akron, Ohio where they will face Middle Tennessee at 9 a.m. on Jan. 19.

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