Cavalier Corner

December 2012

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cavalier profile JULIA ELBABA First-Year • Tennis Julia Elbaba has been playing tennis since she was 7 years old and has com- peted on the pro circuit for the last two years. When she went in search of a col- lege program to hone her skills, she decided the best place for her was Virginia. The Oyster Bay, N.Y., native was rated as a five-star prospect and the No. 5 player in the nation by, and received heavy interest from a host of suitors — including Georgia, Miami, Stanford and UCLA — before ultimately signing with the Cavaliers. "I definitely felt that the balance of school and tennis here was like no other, " " Elbaba said. "I felt like [head coach] Mark [Guilbeau] and [associate head coach] Troy [Porco] could take me to the next level. Their work ethic is amazing. Elbaba — who made appearances in the junior U.S. Open, the junior Austra- lian Open and several UTSA Futures tour events — won her first career singles championship at the UTSA Futures Tour 10K in New Orleans last summer. She draws her inspiration from tennis pro Serena Williams and feels that they share the same aggressive mentality. At 5-5, Elbaba displays tremendous footwork and court awareness. "My biggest strength is my speed, I move really well is one of my strengths. Its hard to put a ball away against me." Elbaba and several of her UVa teammates travelled to Pacific Palisades, Ca- lif., to compete in the ITA All-American Championships in early October, and Elbaba made her presence felt in the singles competition. She won 10 matches during her time in California, defeating three 2012 All-Americans in the process. The first-year made it all the way to the championship round before falling to No. 3 seed Lauren Embree of Florida 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Prior to Elbaba's run, no other Cavalier woman had ever reached the quarterfinals at any one of the major tournaments (ITA All-American, ITA Intercollegiate Indoors and NCAA Championships). Elbaba feels that her early season success will give her team the momentum to succeed during the indoor and regular seasons this year. "I think what I did in California is just motivating us all, " Elbaba said. "I think we have a strong team and I think we can get ourselves into the top five. We're working really hard and we all have the same goals, which is very important. We are eager to achieve them." — Drew Goodman ◆ Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVa " Elbaba said. "I'm a small girl, so that fact that

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