Georgetown's Suzanne Kuhlman, whose only losses in three years have been in the semifinals of the AIAW Division II tennis tournament, will make her third try at the championship when this year's tournament begins today in Greeley, Colo.
Georgetown, 17-3 this year, showed up late for the regional championships at West Chester (Pa.) State two weeks ago, missed the singles competition and did not qualify as a team for the nationals. But enough Hoyas received at-large bids that upsetting national tournament team favorite Richmond is not impossible, said Coach Kathy Kemper.
Kuhlman, a two-time all-American who has lost only two sets while running up a three-year record of 48-0 in dual-meet play, is the top seed in the No. 1 singles competition. Valentina Garcia, a transfer student from Penn State who went 190 this year, is seeded in the top eight of the No. 2 singles category.
Kuhlman and Garcia, who won the Eastern regional championship without losing a set, will team at No. 1 doubles. If they can win their first match, against the No. 2-seeded team from Stephen F. Austin, they should win the tournament, Kemper said.
Kuhlman and Garcia received first-round byes in both their singles and doubles matches. Unseeded Bridget McCarthy (13-6) will play her first match at No. 3 singles this morning.
Kuhlman, from Fort Mitchell, Ky., was seeded No. 1 in last year's tournament but was upset in the semifinals. As a freshman, she also finished third.
Richmond's Martha Puryear, the No. 3 seed, is the only player outside the nationals to win a set off Kuhlman in three years.
"I think Suzanne has an excellent chance to win the whole thing," Kemper said. "There's nobody in her draw that she hasn't beaten before. She's been working hard for it this season. She deserves it."