Friday May 14, 2010Men's Tennis Opens NCAA Tournament Action Saturday
The sixth-seeded Florida men’s tennis team (19-4) opens NCAA Regionals at noon on Saturday, May 15, at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex, hosting Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion South Carolina State (11-10).
The other first round match in Gainesville this weekend features the Southeastern Conference’s Auburn (11-12) against Sun Belt Conference champion Troy (20-4) at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The winners of the two matches will face off Sunday at 2 p.m. with the winner advancing to the finals site in Athens, Ga., where Round of 16 action opens play on Friday, May 21.
“We’re really excited because in any NCAA sport, the NCAA Championship is what defines your season,” head coach Andy Jackson said. “We ready and very excited that we’re getting to play at home. We’re ready to go.
“We’ve got confidence going into it. The team’s attitude is quite good. In a sport like tennis where the season is a long time, you want to make sure you’ve got gas left in the tank at the end. A coach can tell the last week of practice if there’s gas left in the tank, and there’s gas in our tank so I’m excited about that.”
The Gators are appearing the NCAA Tournament for the 20th consecutive year, and they hold a 35-19 record all-time in the event. Florida reached the national semifinals in 2000 and 2005, its best finish at the NCAA Tournament to date. Florida has reached the Round of 16 in 15 of its 19 NCAA appearances, including seven of eight under Jackson.
“All of us are motivated to do well in the tournament,” freshman Bob Van Overbeek (Boca Raton, Fla.) said. “We’re having a good season so far, and we want to keep that going into the last match.”
The Gators are opening-round hosts for the 12th time in program history, providing an important home-court advantage for the team.
“The whole team watched the selection show together, and when we heard it was in Gainesville we were very excited,” Van Overbeek said. “To be able to have the hometown fans here is definitely a big step in getting to the Round of 16 in Athens.”
UF’s meeting with South Carolina State will be the first between the programs. Among potential second-round foes, Florida has also never faced Troy, but is well accustomed to facing SEC foe Auburn. Florida is 2-0 against the Tigers this season, winning a regular-season match in Gainesville and an SEC Tournament semifinal in Lexington, Ky. Florida holds an all-time 36-14 edge in the series.
Live scoring and results from all three matches will be available on www.GatorZone.com.
NCAA Men’s Tennis Regional Schedule
First Round – Saturday, May 15
9 a.m.: Auburn vs. Troy
Noon: Florida vs. South Carolina State
Second Round – Sunday, May 16
2 p.m.: First-round winners
All-Session Pass (including women’s NCAA Regional action on Friday and Saturday):
$10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, college students and children under 17
Single-Day Ticket (Saturday, includes women’s second-round match at 3 p.m.):
$5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens, college students and children under 17
Single-Day Ticket (Sunday):
$3 for everyone