Maryland women’s tennis will bring their self-titled team “Rocket Power” to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Fall National Championships.
Selma Cadar, the “Rocket”, uses her quickness to flit around while Mary Brumfield, the “Power”, wallops the ball with extraordinary strength. The doubles duo are playing their third straight year together — a rare feat in college tennis, coach Katie Dougherty said. The two have become great friends on and off the court, the coach added.
They hope to build off a strong Atlantic Regionals run in the National Championships, which begin on Nov. 1 and run through Nov. 5.
Cadar will compete in singles and partner with Brumfield in doubles.
Cadar tore through her competition at regionals, emerging victorious in six straight matchups — the last over Virginia’s Hibah Shaikh to claim the title and a spot in the National Championships.
The graduate student accomplished that feat despite quad and wrist injuries, according to Brumfield.
“Mentally she was just a lock every single day,” Dougherty said. “I don’t even think she played her best tennis in any of the matches, but there were spurts where she had to and she was able to.”
Cadar and Brumfield formed a dynamic duet that made it to the regional finals, where they were swept by Shaikh and Natasha Subhash. Nonetheless, the two earned a spot in the upcoming National Championships.
Although this year’s championship will be Cadar’s first time competing in the singles tournament, she’s been to the competition before.
She and Brumfield competed last year in the doubles championship but fell in the quarterfinals to Virginia’s Subhash and Elaine Chervinsky. The familiarity from the losses to the Cavaliers has added “tension” to the matchup, Brumfield said.
Both players are extra motivated after last years’ loss in the quarterfinals, they said. The defeat taught them lessons — Brumfield learned the dangers of passive play.
“I want to be the one that’s the more [of a] aggressor, stepping on the gas pedal, just going for my shots and trusting myself and trusting Selma,” Brumfield said.
The two are going through light practices with only two weeks between regionals and the National Championships, Cadar said.Dougherty wants to get her star pairing “back in the swing of things” and work on specific areas of improvement ahead of the competition.
“They’re playing the best they have all fall, we’re peaking at the right time and I think they’re just gonna go out there and do what they do well,” Dougherty said. “When they stick to the basics that’s when we’re fired up.”