ROME, Ga. — Southwestern University Pirates women's tennis first year Nina Mitrofanova's natural talent carried her to All-American status and an ITA Regional Championship.
At the ITA Cup, Mitrofanova got a glimpse of what happens when similar talent combines with years of big-match experience, losing in two sets (2-6, 1-6) to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' senior Catherine Allen.
"Nina got a taste of high-level DIII tennis today," Head Coach Billy Porter said. "She learned that while she can hit with the women at this level, their tennis IQ is at a different level and it showed."
After dropping her match to the second-ranked singles player in Division III, Mitrofanova faced University of Chicago sophomore Nicole Semenov in the consolation draw, losing 7-5, 6-1. Semenov was the Central Regional Championships runner-up and compiled a 19-2 singles record last year.
"Nina showed flashes of excellence today and it's a process for her to put it all together," Porter said. "Her taking her first college losses was a good thing for her to fully understand what she needs to improve on."
Mitrofanova will play tomorrow morning at 9:00 against Gustavus' Ginger Valentine, the ITA Midwest Regional Singls runner-up. The rest of the No. 22-ranked Southwestern University Pirates will officially begin team play on Saturday, Feb. 1 in Houston against new SCAC opponent St. Thomas.