NCAA Southeast Tennis Regional Begins Thursday
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The NCAA Division II Men's & Women's Tennis Southeast Regional begins Thursday as six men's teams and five women's teams descend upon Bacon Park for three days of play, with teams competing for a berth in the NCAA DII Tennis National Championships Round of 16.
Host and two-time defending DII national champion Armstrong Atlantic State enters play with an eye on becoming the first school in NCAA history, regardless of division, to win three consecutive men's and women's tennis national championships. As the top seed, AASU will have first-round byes in this week's regional action.
Thursday's first-round play begins at 10:00 a.m. with a pair of men's matches. No. 16-ranked Flagler (13-8) out of the Peach Belt Conference takes on No. 34-ranked Limestone (12-10) out of Conference Carolinas in one match, while Conference Carolinas rivals Anderson (13-8) and Lees-McRae (15-5) face off in the other match. Flagler and Limestone's meeting is the first ever between the two teams since Flagler became a member of NCAA Division II, while Anderson and Lees-McRae meet for the third time this season. Lees-McRae won both prior meeting this year, 7-2 in the regular season and 5-4 in the Conference Carolinas tournament championship match.
First-round play continues at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday with a single women's match pitting Conference Carolinas rivals Erskine (18-7) and Queens (NC) (19-1). The two schools will also meet for the third time this season as Queens (NC) won the regular season matchup, 5-4, but Erskine captured its sixth consecutive Conference Carolinas tournament title with a 5-3 win over the Royals in the championship match.
The host Pirates debut on Friday as the No. 1-ranked men take on the winner of the Anderson-Lees-McRae match at 10:00 a.m., while in the other second-round match, No. 13-ranked Francis Marion meets the winner of the Flagler/Limestone match.
The winners of Friday's matches will meet at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday in the region final. The winner advances to the 2010 NCAA Division II Tennis Championships in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and will take on the winner of the Atlantic 2 region, hosted by Kutztown, in Round of 16 action on Wednesday, May 12.
Meanwhile, the host and top-ranked Lady Pirates also take the court on Friday for the first time, taking on the winner of the Queens/Erskine match at 2:00 p.m. AASU is searching for its sixth NCAA Division II National Championship and third in a row. Also at 2:00 p.m., No. 13-ranked Francis Marion (16-5) meets No. 22-ranked Flagler (14-7) for the third time this season between the Peach Belt rivals. Francis Marion won both earlier matchups, including a narrow 5-3 win in the first round of the PBC Tournament.
The winners of Friday's women's matches will meet at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday in the region final. The winner advances to the 2010 NCAA Division II Tennis Championships in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and will take on the winner of the South Central 2 region, hosted by Northeastern State, on Wednesday, May 12.
Fans can follow along with all the action at the official site of the NCAA Tennis Southeast Regional, including live stats from all the matches, at http://www.aasupirates.com/insideAthletics/news/2010ncaatennisregional.