The Tennessee Volunteers earned the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tennis Championships and will host first- and second-round matches on May 10 and 11.
The Vols (23-8) start their stay in the national tournament on May 10 against South Carolina State at 2 p.m. at Barksdale Stadium. Clemson and Boise State will face in the other match at 11 a.m.
The winners of the two matches play on May 11 at 1 p.m. The victor will advance to the round of 16 and the final tournament site in Champaign, Ill.
More details will be available on Wednesday.
“Before we came to college, every time that we played was a tournament," said Mikelis Libietis, recently named the SEC Player of the Year. "You lose, you go home. For me, it’s kind of exciting to go back and play tournaments. I’m really looking forward to it."
The four-team region features some old and new faces for the Vols. Tennessee takes on South Carolina State for the first time in program history.
Clemson is the No. 2 seed in the region. The Vols faced the team last year, edging out a 4-3 win at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. Tennessee also played Boise State at the Blue Gray and collected a 4-0 shutout.
"I think they have some young players on the team," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "I think they have a couple of brothers who play very well together in doubles. And also are difficult in singles. Last year's team to this year's team, that’s very similar to us. They're much improved."
BY THE NUMBERS
24: Total NCAA selections since the championships changed to its present-day team format in 1979. Head coach Sam Winterbotham has led the team to the national tournament his first seven.
38: Wins the Vols have enjoyed in the NCAA Championships. The Vols' all-time record is 38-23. During Winterbotham's first six years at Tennessee, the Vols are 14-6 in the NCAA Championships. The team has advanced to the round of 16 four times.
3: Times the Vols have reached the NCAA title match. Tennessee reached the finals in 1990, 2001 and most recently in 2010, falling to Southern California 4-2. The Vols have reached the quarterfinals or better on 8 occasions.
WHEN IN KNOXVILLE…
When the Vols host first and second rounds of the tournament, their record in Knoxville has been nearly perfect.
Tennessee has hosted the "regional" tournament nine times since 1999 and the Vols' record is 17-1 in those matches. The only loss came in 1999 to Mississippi State, and the Vols responded the next three years by reaching the semifinals or better. Winterbotham's teams have hosted the opening round four times in the last six years with an 8-0 record.
WRAPPING UP AN ERA
Senior Edward Jones has served as the real final link to the Vols' NCAA final team of 2010. As a freshman, Jones secured a starting job in the Tennessee doubles lineup and never looked back. He ranked eighth in program history with 90 career doubles wins.
Jones proved to be a critical cog in the Vols' 2010 squad that handedly swept the SEC titles and reached the team final for the third time in program history. He and doubles partner Matteo Fago were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for No. 3 doubles after the two of them went 5-0 through the tournament's six rounds.
In his career in the NCAA team tournament, Jones is 8-1 in doubles.
LV TENNIS EARNS 19TH STRAIGHT NCAA BID
The Lady Vols will travel to Chapel Hill for a first round
meeting with VCU
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -The University of Tennessee women's tennis team will head to Chapel Hill, N.C. for play in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament on May 11-12, as announced by the NCAA Tuesday night.
The Lady Vols are making their 19th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament dating back to 1995 and 23rd overall NCAA showing.
Tennessee (12-11) will face 41st-ranked Virginia Commonwealth University (22-4) on Saturday, May 11, while second-seeded and host team North Carolina, will play South Carolina State in the first round.
The winners of those matches will face on May 12 for a chance to advance to the Round of 16, which takes place in Champaign, Ill. The championship site hosts the final four rounds from May 16-21.
“It’s a good venue to play,” said co-head coach Mike Patrick. “They have a great team, great coaching staff. It’ll be a real challenge for us. Playing VCU is going to be tough. We just want to see if we can play a great match.”
“I’m really excited to go there,” said senior Kata Szekely. “We have nothing to lose honestly, in this second round. We just have to play hard, as we’ve been, fight hard and we’ll see what happens. There are no easy matches, honestly. Everyone wants to get to the Sweet 16 just as bad as the other team and you just have to be ready every day.”
The Lady Vols will square off against VCU for the second-straight season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Last year the Lady Vols shut out the Rams 4-0 in Charlottesville.
The two teams have met just two times in the past with the other meeting coming in the quarterfinals of the 2002 NCAA Tournament a 4-3 victory for Tennessee.
The VCU Rams are riding a 13-game win streak dating back to a 6-1 loss to Penn State on February 24.
“We’ll be ready to compete and I think that’s the big thing,” said Patrick. “We’re going to have to go out there and play our best tennis to get a chance to go on, but those guys are pretty confident. They haven’t lost since February. That’s pretty tough, but we’ll be ready. It’s a good challenge and something I look forward to doing.”
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRACKET
The winner of the match will face the winner of the North Carolina (25-3)/South Carolina State (16-4) meeting.
The Lady Vols hold a 14-13 series lead against North Carolina with their last meeting coming in New York City last January.
The two teams have met just once in the NCAA Tournament, a 2004 meeting in Chapel Hill resulting in a 4-3 victory for the Lady Vols.
Tennessee and South Carolina State have never met on the courts.
INDIVIDUAL NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES
The NCAA Individual Championship selection will be announced on Wednesday, May 1 at 6 p.m.