Vols to Host NCAA Tennis Opening Rounds

April 30, 2013


The sixth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers earned the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tennis Championships and will host the first and second round matches on May 10 and 11.

The Vols 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 winner 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," sophomore Mikelis Libietis said. "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. Tennessee takes on South Carolina State for the first time in program history.

Clemson is the No. 2 seed in the four-team region. The Vols faced the Tigers 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.

"Clemson has some young players on the team," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "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."

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 six years at Tennessee. Tonight will be his squad's seventh selection.

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 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.

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.





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