Singles and Doubles Tandems Invited To NCAA Tennis Championships
Two conference duos and one singles player have been selected to compete in the 2017 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. The competition will run May 24-29 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
In men’s doubles, UC Santa Barbara will send the nationally ranked tandem of Simon Freund and Morgan Mays to Georgia. For women’s doubles, the pair of Palina Dubavets and Melissa Baker will also represent the Gauchos.
Hawai‘i freshman Petra Melounova will participate in the women’s singles championship.
Freund and Mays represent UCSB’s first men’s doubles entry into the NCAA Championship since 1992 when David Decret and Laszlo Markovits competed.
A first team All-Big West selection, Freund and Mays have been ranked all season long in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association doubles poll. They vaulted to as high as No. 6 at one point and enter the postseason ranked No. 35. The two compiled a 10-4 record in dual matches at the No. 1 spot.
A women’s tandem will represent the Gauchos for the second straight year in Dubavets and Baker. In 2016, Dubavets teamed with Stefani Stojic to become the first UCSB women’s doubles team to compete in the NCAA’s in 20 years.
Dubavets and Baker are ranked No. 51 nationally by the ITA. They collected a 7-3 record in duals matches almost entirely at the No. 1 position in the lineup.
Hawai‘i is sending a player to the NCAA Singles Championships for the third time in school history as Melounova joins teammate Cindy Nguyen, who participated in 2014 and 2015. Melounova gives the Big West a singles representative for the sixth straight year, and the 10th time in the last 12 years.
Melounova helped the Rainbow Wahine win the Big West regular season championship with an 8-0 record, as she won her final 13 matches to finish 13-1 overall in dual matches. She is ranked No. 70 nationally entering the tournament, but has been stationed as high as No. 54. Melounova became just the third individual in Big West history to be named Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year in the same season.