Browne Defeats Agarycheva in First Round of NCAA Singles

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

FREDERICKSBURG, VA. -- Julia Browne of Tufts University (Mass.), the #3 seed in the NCAA Division III Singles Championship defeated Natalia Agarycheva (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado) in the first round, 6-1, 6-1, on Friday, May 28 at the Battleground Tennis Complex. Browne also won in the second round, as he downed Courtney Chin of Carnegie-Mellon University (Pa.), 6-4, 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinals.

Sometimes the draw for a tennis bracket provides an easy trip to the later rounds, and sometimes the draw forces a competitor to take on one of the strongest players in the first round.

For Agarycheva, ranked #4 in the West Region, it was the latter, with Browne, ranked #1 in the Northeast Region as her first opponent. The overall bracket included the top eight players from each of the NCAA's four regions.

Agarycheva may have ended the season with a loss to one of the top players in the nation, but she still finished the spring with a 20-4 overall record. One of her losses was to Liz Lewis of Chapman University (Calif.), ranked #1 in the West Region and seeded #1 for the NCAA Singles Championship. Lewis edged Agarycheva, 7-6 (6-2), 6-4, on March 26.

One of the remaining losses for Agarycheva was to Abby Olbrich of Linfield College in three sets on Feb. 11 with Olbrich winning, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. In their second meeting of the season on March 13, Agarycheva defeated Olbrich in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. Agarycheva also lost to Sheryl Bon of Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) in the Round of 16 at the Ojai Tournament on April 23.

During the year, Agarycheva had winning streaks of 10 matches and nine matches in singles play. She also was the only non-seeded player in the Women's Independent Singles bracket at the Ojai Tournament to defeat a seeded player, as she rallied past the #12 seed, Ashley Litchfield of Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.), in the second round, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Agarycheva also earned a 12-7 overall record in doubles and was chosen Northwest Conference Player of the Year. She was the first women's tennis player from Willamette to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships. She was selected as the ITA West Region Player to Watch.

Led by Agarycheva, Willamette achieved a 12-9 dual match record this spring. The Bearcats went 10-6 (4th place) in the Northwest Conference and competed in the NWC Tournament.

NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Singles Championship
May 28-30, 2010
Natalia Agarycheva was the first Willamette women's tennis player to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships.

Natalia Agarycheva was the first Willamette women's tennis player to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships.