April 29, 2008
Knoxville -- The eighth-ranked Tennessee men’s tennis team will host a first and second round regional in the 2008 NCAA tournament as the 64-team field was announced by the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Subcommittees Tuesday afternoon. Tennessee, seeded eighth in the tournament, faces Furman in the first round. The Vols will face the winner of Kentucky and Virginia Tech in the second round.
“One of our goals this year was to host a regional,” head coach Sam Winterbotham said. “We want to play the first two rounds in Knoxville every year. I’m happy we were able to secure a host site not just for us but for our fans also. We have great fans and I encourage them to come out and help the program represent our fantastic university.”
Tennessee (21-3) defeated Furman, 7-0 on Jan. 24 in both teams season-opener. Overall, UT leads the series with Furman, 15-0. The Paladins (16-10) received an automatic bid into the tournament as winners of the Southern Conference.
“Coach (Paul) Scarpa is a legend in coaching,” Winterbotham said. “He will have his team ready to play. They are extremely well coached and we will have to play our best to win.”
The winner of the Tennessee-Furman match faces the winner of the Kentucky-Virginia Tech match in the second round. The Vols defeated Kentucky twice in the regular season and beat Virginia Tech, 4-3 on March 15 in Knoxville.
The Vols last hosted an NCAA regional in 2005. UT defeated ETSU and Ohio State to advance to the round of 16 before falling to eventual National Champion UCLA.
This marks Tennessee’s 19th appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Volunteers boast an all-time record of 25-18 in the tournament.
The teams will play a single-elimination tournament at 16 first- and second-round sites (four teams at each site) and the finals site (16-team bracket) to determine the national champion. The matches shall be regulation dual matches with three eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight games all in doubles and at six games all in singles.
The round of 16 and all rounds after will be played in Tulsa, Okla., at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center from May 16-20.
NCAA Tournament First and Second Round Schedule
First Round - Saturday, May 10
11 a.m. - Furman vs.  Tennessee
2 p.m. - Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech
Second Round - Sunday, May 11
2 p.m. - Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner
TENNESSEE LADY VOLS
For the second time in the past three seasons, the No. 25 University of Tennessee women’s tennis team (14-9) will travel to the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga., to compete in the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The berth in the competition marks the 14th-consecutive year that the Lady Vols have been selected. They will open the tournament against No. 36 Illinois (12-10) at 3 p.m. on Fri., May 9, at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
“We are very excited about our draw,” UT co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. “Our team thrives on competition and that is what this time of year is all about. It is either win or go home at this point. We just need to take it one round at a time and play our game.
“Illinois is a very good team that has been playing well as of late, so we know that we need to be prepared for a tough match,” Hahn-Patrick said. “We will work hard in practice for the next week to prepare for the test ahead of us, but I feel confident that we will be ready to go when it comes time to play.”
On the other side of the bracket, No. 3 national seed and host school Georgia Tech (19-5) will take on Alcorn State (13-12) prior to the UT-Illinois showdown. The Yellow Jackets will be looking to defend their 2007 NCAA Championship which they earned with a 4-2 victory over UCLA in Athens, Ga., last season.
Tennessee has already defeated the Fighting Illini once this season, winning, 6-1, on Jan. 26 at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center in Knoxville. The Big Orange claimed wins in five of the six singles contests after sweeping all three doubles matches. UT has emerged victorious in each of the past 13 match-ups between the two squads and has only lost once to the Illini, falling, 3-6, in the initial meeting on March 24, 1986.
The Orange and White sport a 23-17 record in 17 all-time appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the Lady Vols traveled to Nashville where they advanced to the second round of the competition with a 4-0 triumph over Tulsa, before bowing out to Vanderbilt the following day.
First- and second-round competition will be conducted May 9-10 with the winner of each site advancing to the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla., hosted by the University of Tulsa. The team championship will be held May 15-20. The teams will play a single-elimination tournament at 16 first- and second-round sites (four teams at each site) and the finals site (16-team bracket) to determine the national champion. The matches shall be regulation dual-matches with three eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight games all in doubles and at six games all in singles.
NCAA Tournament First and Second Round Schedule
Friday, May 9
No. 3 Georgia Tech (19-5) vs. Alcorn State (13-12) – Noon
No. 25 Tennessee (14-9) vs. No. 36 Illinois (12-10) – 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 10
Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner – 1 p.m.