April 28, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - For the first time since 2003, the University of Tennessee women's tennis team (17-6) will host the opening rounds of the NCAA Championships. The 10th-ranked Lady Volunteers will take on East Tennessee State in the first round, while No. 40 Wake Forest and 22nd-rated South Carolina will battle it out on the other side of the bracket. The selection marks the 15th-straight season that UT has made the NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina and Wake Forest will open the competition with a 9 a.m. matchup on Sat., May 9, at the Goodfriend Tennis Center with the Tennessee-ETSU showdown set to take place at Noon. The winners of both matches will then square off at 1 p.m. the following day for the right to advance to the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, May 15-19.
"It's great to be in Knoxville playing some familiar opponents," UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "We could not be more thrilled about hosting and can't wait to get out on the courts. All three of the teams coming in are very talented and present unique challenges, but our team is very excited about having the opportunity to go out there, compete and show what we are capable of. It's win or go home this time of year, so we need to practice hard this week and get ready to play our best next weekend."
The Big Orange sports a 24-18 overall record in 18 all-time appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including a perfect 10-0 mark in Knoxville. Last season, the Lady Vols traveled to Atlanta, Ga., where they advanced to the second round of the competition with a 4-0 triumph over Illinois, before bowing out to Georgia Tech the following day.
The showdown with East Tennessee State will mark the first match-up between the in-state foes since the 2002 campaign, when the Lady Vols claimed a 6-0 victory in Johnson City. UT has never lost to the Bucs, having won all 10 matches with sweeps in eight of those contests. ETSU, which is also 17-6 on the season, earned an automatic berth into this year's tournament by winning the Atlantic Sun Conference title.
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 George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M University. The team championship will be held May 15-19. 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.
General admission tickets will be $5, while student tickets will be $3 with ID. Children two-and-under will be admitted free of charge. Tickets may be purchased the day of the match at the gate and no advance tickets will be sold. Tickets will be sold as single day admissions and pass outs will be allowed. Gates will open one hour prior to the beginning of the match.