CHARLOTTESVILLE -- The Virginia women's tennis program welcomed four newcomers as practice began for the start of the fall season. Riley Blanks (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Maria Fuccillo (Rockville, Md.), Hana Tomljanovic (Boca Raton. Fla.) and Erin Vierra (Norwell, Mass.) will all make their collegiate playing debuts this weekend when the Cavaliers travel to the William & Mary Invitational.
Blanks has been ranked in the top 100 nationally in the junior rankings and is a four-star recruit by tennisrecruiting.net. She twice has received a wild card to play in the Boyd Tinsley Tennis Classic at the Boar's Head Sports Club. In juniors, she has won the consolation draw at both the Copper Bowl and Winter Nationals. Her father, Lance Blanks, played basketball at UVa and at Texas before playing in the NBA.
Fuccillo is a five star recruit who is ranked as the No. 31 recruit nationally by tennisrecruiting.net. She was ranked No. 1 in the USTA Mid-Atlantic Girls 18s rankings. In high school at the Academy of the Holy Cross, she didn't lose a singles match in her four year career and three times was named the Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year.
Tomljanovic is a five star recruit who is ranked as the No. 11 recruit nationally by tennisrecruiting.net. Originally from Croatia, she went to high school in Florida and was the FHSAA finalist. She has been ranked in the top 200 of the ITF junior rankings and consistantly ranked in the top three of the junior rankings in Croatia at every age level.
Vierra is a five star recruit who is ranked as the No. 13 recruit nationally by tennisrecruiting.net. A high school All-American, she was ranked as the No. 1 player in New England in the USTA Girls 18s rankings. She won the doubles title at the Atlanta National Open and at the ITF event in Waco, Texas, while reaching the singles final of the ITF event in Baton Rouge, La.
These four players join four veterans, Jennifer Stevens (Miami, Fla.), Neela Vaez (Perrysburg, Ohio), Emily Fraser (Rye, N.Y.) and Lindsey Hardenbergh (Fairfax Station, Va.) on this year's roster.
After opening the season this weekend at the William & Mary Invitational, the Cavaliers will return home to host the UVa Fall Invitational Sept. 18-20 at the Snyder Tennis Center.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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