SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Following Tuesday’s home dual match against Fairleigh Dickinson, four Pirates will continue their fall seasons with a trip to the ITA Northeast Regional Tournament in West Point, N.Y.
Selections were released earlier today and it was announced that juniors Rocio Portela (Demetrio Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) and Chloe Sher (Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong) will be joined by sophomore Madison Shoemaker (Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia) and Julia Keenan (Greenland, N.H.) in representing Seton Hall in the regional field.
Sher and Portela received singles invitations, with Sher entering the main draw and Portela slated to participate in qualifying. It will be the third appearance in as many years for both of SHU’s top-two singles players.
To this point in the year, Sher has won seven out of her 10 singles appearances. At the Quinnipiac Invitational, she captured the A flight singles title and went on to appear in the A flight final at the Bill and Sandra Moore Invitational a week later. She has posted a win in each of her first two trips to the ITAs and will be looking to advance for a third consecutive year. Portela has registered two singles wins this fall and continues to consistently challenge against some of the best players in the area. The Puerto Rico native is also no stranger to the stage at the ITA Tournament.
The pair of third-year players also received a berth in the doubles main draw. As a team, Portela and Sher are second to none in school history having surpassed SHU’s career wins record last season. Early in 2012, the duo has continued to dominate the competition. Portela and Sher have been victorious in six out of their last seven matches as a tandem, capturing the A flight crown at the Bill and Sandra Moore Invitational in the process. Last season, they advanced to the second round with an 8-5 victory over Labarth/Viebrock from Quinnipiac.
Also entered in the doubles main draw bracket, Shoemaker and Keenan will attempt to make their mark on the regional scene in just their fourth tournament playing together. The team of Shoemaker/Keenan is fresh off a finals appearance at the USTA Invitational in the Pirates last competition, earning the distinction as the first Seton Hall team to reach the championship round at the event. Through the first three tournaments, their five wins are second only to Portela and Sher on the team wins list.
Shoemaker will be making her second appearance at the ITAs after teaming with former Pirate Elizabeth Verow as a freshman at last year’s event. The sophomore and her doubles partner Keenan are still eligible to earn singles bids of their own as alternates.
“I am very pleased that we were able to place two teams in the doubles main draw and I think it is a symbol of the progress we are making as a team,” said head coach Greg Wyzykowski. “The winners advance to the national tournament which is something for our girls to shoot for but the tournament also holds significance in terms of rankings as well. If we can perform well there, our girls should be a factor when the committee meets to make their selections for the new regional rankings that are released in January. Unlike the national rankings which are largely based on computer numbers, the regional rankings come from the committee’s decisions. The ITAs are an excellent opportunity to impress them and build some momentum heading into the spring.”
After a stellar 2012 spring season that included a 4-1 record against ranked opponents, Sher checked in at #16 in the final Northeast regional rankings of the year.
Prior to the ITA Tournament, Seton Hall will take to the court for a head-to-head matchup with perennial NEC power Fairleigh Dickinson. The match is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 2:00 p.m. from the Baird Courts in South Orange.
The best players in the region will descend upon upstate New York for the ITA Northeast Regional Tournament starting on Friday, Oct. 19. The three-day competition will continue through Sunday, Oct. 21.