ATHENS, Ga. — Sophomore Ela Kaluder closed the 2007 women’s tennis season for the University of Arkansas with a loss in the opening round of the NCAA Championships hosted by the University of Georgia.
Kaluder lost toUniversity of California’shighly-ranked Nina Henkel in the first round, 6-1, 6-3. Even with the loss, Kaluder goes down in the UA record books as only the fourth player to earn a berth in the NCAA singles championship.
"It was a tough day for Ela," UA head coach Michael Hegarty said. "She gave it all she had, but she’s only a sophomore and the best part about that is she’ll have two more chances to advance at this level."
Ranked 22nd in the ITA college rankings and a top 50 under 18 player in the world, Henkel took control of the match early and prevented Kaluder from making a rally on the Dan Magill Tennis Center courts.
The loss ends Kaluder’s year at 26-14 and ranked 35th by the ITA. A first-team all-SEC pick, Kaluder is also a nominee for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America, sporting a 3.93 GPA in her second season at Arkansas.
"She had a great season, and I know she’s excited about the chance to return to this level next season," Hegarty said. "The experience from playing in the tournament is priceless, and this will serve as fuel for the future."
The win for Henkel moves the all-Pac-10 freshman to 39-11 on the season. She awaits the winner of TCU’s Ana Cetnik and UCLA’s Reza Zalameda in Thursday’s second round.
Kaluder’s appearance at the NCAA Championships gives Hegarty his second straight year with one or more of his players in the postseason. Last fall, Arkansas made a return to the team competition with a first-round appearance. This year, the Lady’Backs improved their overall record with an 11-11 overall record but just missed team selection.