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Tuesday April 28, 2009Tennis Teams To Host NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds

Gainesville, Fla.

The University of Florida men's and women's tennis teams both were chosen as one of 16 hosts of their respective NCAA First and Second Round Championship matches, the NCAA  Committee announced on Tuesday afternoon from Indianapolis.

 

The event will run from May 8 to 10 at UF's Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.  The Gator men will host two first round matches on Friday, May 8 and a second round contest on Saturday, May 9, while the women will play their first round matches on Saturday and the second round on the Sunday, May 10. The winning team from each of the regionals advances to College Station, Texas, for the NCAA Round of 16 and beyond.

 

This season, Texas A&M University plays host to the combined men's and women's tournament from the Round of 16 through the final. The men's Round of 16 begins on Thursday, May 14, while women's action gets underway on Friday, May 15.

 

Start times for all first and second round matches will be announced later this week by the NCAA Committee.

 

The Gator men, ranked No. 10 with a 17-8 overall record, received the No. 10 overall seed in the NCAA draw and the top seed in the Gainesville regional. Florida will play Marist (12-3) in the opening round with the winner of the match to face the winner of Columbia (16-5) and Miami (Fla.) (14-8). 

 

"We're pleased to be selected as an NCAA regional host for the second consecutive year, but we know we have a great challenge ahead of us in Marist,” said men’s head coach Andy Jackson. “Ultimately, a team is remembered for how they finish the season, so we need to be playing at our highest level next weekend. It will be great to play in front of our Gator fans and to have them cheering for both our team and the women’s team as we kick off the NCAA Tournament."

 

It is the 19th consecutive year that the UF men's team has received an NCAA Tournament bid. Last year, the Gator men advanced to the Round of 16 for the 15th time in the last 18 years. UF’s best NCAA finishes on the men’s side came in 2000 and 2005 when the Gators advanced to the semifinals.

 

The UF men have advanced through the NCAA regional for seven consecutive years beginning in 2002, which was Jackson’s first season as the Gators’ head coach. Dating back to his time at Mississippi State University, Jackson’s teams have reached the Round of 16 in 17 of the past 18 years.

 

The Gator women, ranked No. 15 in the country with a 14-9 overall record, received the No. 15 seed in the 64-team draw. Florida faces Southern Conference champion College of Charleston (24-4) in its NCAA First Round contest on Sat., May 9. The other NCAA Women’s First Round match played in Gainesville features 18th-ranked Florida State (16-7) versus 33rd-ranked Auburn (11-12). The winning teams from those first-round matches meet in the second round on Sunday.

 

UF has hosted First and Second round matches every year since the NCAA Women's Championships expanded its field to 64 teams in 1999.

 

The Florida women's team is making its 26th appearance in the 27-year history of the NCAA Championships, missing only the 1986 event. The Gators won NCAA team titles in 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2003 and have advanced to at least the NCAA Semifinals 18 times in the last 21 years.

 

“We are very proud to have been selected yet again to host the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament,” UF women’s head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “It’s been an up and down year for the Gators by our usual standards, but we feel like we have worked hard and earned the right to play at home again. We certainly know we have our hands full with three very, very talented teams coming to Gainesville. We certainly look forward to playing College of Charleston in the first round and we will not look at anything beyond that one match.”

 

It will be the first-ever meeting between Florida and the 68th-ranked College of Charleston Cougars, who are coming off their first conference title since 2003 and have set a program record with 24 wins this year. The Gators played Florida State and Auburn during the regular season, with the Seminoles earning their first win in the 49-match series history on February 28 in Tallahassee, 5-2. Florida defeated the Tigers on April 12 in Gainesville, where Marrit Boonstra overcame the heat, severe cramping and the nation’s sixth-ranked singles player to clinch Florida’s thrilling 4-3 victory. With the team score knotted at 3-all, the eighth-ranked Boonstra and Tiger junior Fani Chifchieva battled for two hours and 25 minutes, before the Gator junior emerged with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

 

The announcement of the participants for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be held on Wednesday, April 29, with the names of the individuals posted to the NCAA web site.

 

Ticket Information:

Tickets may be purchased in advance or on each day of the tournament. An ALL-SESSION Pass is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. SINGLE DAY tickets for Friday and Saturday are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for senior citizens, college students and children under 17. SINGLE DAY tickets for Sunday are $3.00 for everyone. Spectators interested in purchasing advance ALL-SESSION Pass may do so by contacting:

 

Gator Ticket Office

Post Office Box 14485

Gainesville, FL  32604

352/375-4683, ext. 6800

352/372-5801 (fax)

 

Tickets also are available for purchase online at www.Gatorzone.com/tickets

 

Gates will open for fans one hour prior to the start of the first competition each day.  Please note that seating is on a first come, first served basis.  No saving of seats will be permitted. A Will Call window for the teams will also be located at the Ring Tennis Complex entrance.

 

 

The schedule of team play in Gainesville is as follows:

 

Friday, May 8 * Men's NCAA First Round

Time TBA

Florida vs. Marist

Time TBA

Columbia vs. Miami (Fla.)

 

Saturday May 9 * Women's NCAA First Round

Time TBA

Florida vs. College of Charleston

Time TBA

Auburn vs. Florida State  

Saturday May 9 * Men's NCAA Second Round

Time TBA

Friday's First Round winners

 

Sunday May 10 * Women's NCAA Second Round

Time TBA

Saturday's First Round winners

 

End of Report

 

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