May 15, 2013
URBANA, Ill. -- Another solid practice, an afternoon run and a banquet highlighted the Vols' last day of preparation before the final site action starts at the NCAA Tennis Championships.
The Vols get to work in the tournament Thursday when they play SEC foe Mississippi State at 1 p.m. Eastern.
SEAN KARL UPDATETennessee signee Sean Karl is in the home stretches of his cancer treatments this month.
Karl, a native of Brentwood, Tenn., signed with the Vols in November 2012 after being diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer. Since then, Karl has been undergoing series of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
He is scheduled to start his 14th and possibly final round of chemotherapy this weekend.
Karl was originally going to graduate early and enroll at Tennessee in January and redshirt, but plans were derailed because of the illness. In his absence at the NCAA courts this weekend, the Vols' teammate was still very much remembered.
After their morning practice, the Vols took a photo with an orange towel with Sean's name on it.
CONFERENCE (AND STATE) ROLL CALLThe Vols and Mississippi State Bulldogs aren't the only SEC teams represented in the final field of 16 teams.
Six of eight SEC schools who hosted the opening rounds reached the final site: Tennessee, Mississippi State, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. Florida and Ole Miss also played the opening rounds on their home courts last weekend but did not advance.
The Volunteer State as a whole has excellent representation in the final field. Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Memphis are in the final 16. Only California has more with four: UCLA, Southern California, California and Pepperdine.
THE BANQUETLike every other national tennis tournament on the college circuit, the NCAA final site featured a pre-tournament banquet on Wednesday evening.
Between the men's and women's competition, all 32 teams ate a meal on the third floor of Illinois' football stadium. The brief evening featured a few speakers, a video highlight reel and (obviously) food.