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Redbirds women’s tennis earns first tournament bid in 14 years

Written by on April 30, 2019

NORMAL – Illinois State Women’s Tennis will face No. 13 USC Trojans in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

The Redbirds clinched a tournament bid with help from Natalia Bravo, who was instrumental in the team’s 4-3 victory over top ranked Stony Brook in the MVC championship. The Junior from Colombia is excited to see the team’s hard work pay off.

“It’s amazing,” said Bravo. “We never thought we were gonna play a team like that, just so far away. We thought we were gonna play Northwestern or somewhere closer but that’s just amazing. I feel like it’s a big step for our team.”

This is the first time the team has been to the NCAA tournament since 2005, where the Redbirds were swept in 4 sets against UCLA. ISU will compete for the national title for the first time under fifth year Head Coach Maja Kovacek, who is embracing the challenge the team has been given.

“I think we’re all just excited,” said Coach Kovacek “We knew that any one of the 16 teams in the country would be a great opportunity. I know these kids love going to L.A., so they’re a little extra excited about that.”

The New Mexico graduate coached the Redbirds to a 20-6 record this season and 5-0 in conference play.

The Redbirds will head to Los Angeles to face USC in the opening round on Saturday at 2 p.m. central time. If ISU can win 4 straight matches, they will head to Orlando, Florida for the semi-finals and championship later in May.