By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
A loss couldn't keep Ecaterina Vasenina down.
USF's top player earned her first trip to the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship and suffered a 6-4, 6-2 loss in the first round to national champion Florida's Sofie Oyen on Wednesday evening at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Despite the loss, the junior was upbeat because all of her hard work this season took her to a place many players don't have the privilege of getting to each year.
"This is a really nice thing. This tournament is great and it's just an honor to be here and playing against top players, especially the University of Florida that just won the team championship," Vasenina said. "I still have next year and my ranking will be higher. I'm just going to work as much as possible and achieve the best results I can."
Vasenina, ranked No. 44 in the nation, was an NCAA alternate last season and put herself in a great position to make the tournament. She went 17-7 in singles play this spring at USF's No. 1 position after going 9-3 in the fall. She was selected to the All-Big East team for the second straight season after helping the Bulls make the finals at the Big East Championships in Tampa.
"Hopefully we'll all be at the tournament next year," she said.