SKILLMAN, NJ – Clemson women’s tennis players Josipa Bek and Keri Wong have ascended to the number-one national doubles ranking in the March 15 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Poll announced on Tuesday. The juniors become the first Clemson doubles team, men or women, to earn the mark.
They are the second women’s tennis group overall to reach No. 1, as Ani Mijacika earned the spot in singles in 2008 and 2009. The team moved up to 15th in this week’s poll and four Tigers earned national rankings in singles, with Bek at 12th, Wong at 62nd, sophomore Nelly Ciolkowski ranked 113th and freshman Klara Vyskocilova at 123.
“It’s a great milestone, and it is something that we always dreamed we could make happen at Clemson,” said head Coach Nancy Harris, who set the school ACC wins record with her 85th on Sunday. “This is our first No. 1 in doubles, right on the heels of our first No. 1 singles player (in 2009), and our next goal is we’d like to get the team No. 1 ranking. With the leadership of these two young women, they make it very possible that we can make that happen. I couldn’t be more proud for both of them.”
The duo have a record of 21-6 overall, and have their sights set on the school record of 29 wins in a season. Bek needs just three wins to move into 10th in school history in career doubles victories, as she has an 81-33 career record. Wong is not far behind with 76 career wins.
Bek has been named an All-American in doubles in each of her first two seasons, and Wong earned the honor as a freshman, as she played with Mijacika.
“I’m so used to seeing Florida or Stanford at one, but I saw us and it was like ‘whoa,’” said Wong, who is ranked 62nd nationally in singles. “I thought we’d be first after nationals. It was hard, since we’ve been splitting up so much. I think that we can do really well at nationals, and that rankings can change, but if you are one, people will always go after you with their best.”
Bek and Wong have knocked off two different number-ones in Florida’s group of Allie Will and Sophie Oyen, as well as Cal’s group of Jana Juricova and Mari Andersson. The Tigers actually took down the Gator group in two different tournaments, while also dropping a match in the finals of the ITA Indoor Doubles Championships.
“I think that they have worked very hard, and are leading the team week in and week out,” said Harris. “We have a young team and have been challenged with injury, going inside and outside, and navigating the tough schedule.”
Bek and Wong reached the Championship match of two major national tournaments in the fall, and their only losses in the spring are to the 9th-ranked team and 15th-ranked team.
Clemson returns to action on March 21 as they head to the College of Charleston.