A month ago, Southwestern University Pirates women's tennis first year Nina Mitrofanova defeated two regionally-ranked seniors to win the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Fall West Regional Championship.
This weekend, she'll step onto a national stage against heightened competition at the prestigious ITA Cup in Rome, Georgia.
"It's going to give her a better perspective of what high-level Division III tennis is," Head Coach Billy Porter said. "I'm hoping it gives her an opportunity to continue to understand as good as her accomplishment was, there's another level to reach."
Mitrofanova will be thrown into the fire early, starting the competition against the fourth-seeded defending national doubles champion and singles semifinalist Catherine Allen, a member of the 2018 National Champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas and No. 2-ranked singles player in Division III.
Allen, a senior from Shoreline, Washington, is a three-time All-American who compiled a 23-3 singles recording each of the last two years.
"Catherine Allen will present a huge challenge for Nina as she's been the best player on a Top 2 team the last two years," Porter said. "She has a very solid game and is seasoned as a senior, especially at this level."
Mitrofanova is the fifth Southwestern women's tennis player to earn All-American status in the past three years, joining Mary Cardone (2019, singles), Kate Daugherty (2017, singles and doubles), and Esther Bowers (doubles).
The 2019 ITA Cup begins play on Oct. 17 at Berry College.