Three Big West Teams Land Bids To NCAA Tennis Championships
PEPPERDINE TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
A total of three Big West teams were selected to participate in the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Tennis Championships, announced the respective Selection Committees Tuesday.
UC Santa Barbara drew a first round matchup in the men's tournament with 11th-seeded Pepperdine. The Big West received two berths in the women's bracket, with Long Beach State pitted against Oklahoma State and UC Irvine up against San Jose State in opening round contests.
The Gauchos captured the Big West automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Championship by virtue of becoming the first No. 5 seed in league history to win the Big West Tournament. UCSB upset No. 4 Hawaii, No. 1 UC Irvine and No. 3 Pacific en route to its eighth tournament title, and first since 2009.
UCSB is 4-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, making its last appearance in 2009 against USC. The Gauchos (12-13) face Pepperdine, currently No. 12 in the ITA rankings, on Friday, May 10 at 1:00 p.m. The Waves claimed an automatic berth as the champion of the West Coast Conference Tournament. UCSB and Pepperdine met once before in the NCAA's, with the Gauchos winning 4-1 in the 1997 second round.
Long Beach State was the Big West automatic qualifier to the NCAA Women's Championship after winning its third straight Big West Tournament title, and ninth in the last 10 years at Indian Wells Tennis Garden last week. The second-seeded 49ers secured their 10th tournament title and NCAA appearance. The 49ers, riding a 13-match winning streak, square off against No. 28 Oklahoma State (15-8) in the first round at UCLA's Los Angeles Tennis Center on Saturday, May 11 at 9:00 a.m. No. 7 seed UCLA meets Army in the other first round contest at noon. The 49ers own an all-time mark of 2-9 in the NCAA Tournament, with their most recent victory coming last year against No. 33 Arkansas in the first round.
For the third time in the last seven years, the Big West has two schools participating in the women's bracket as conference regular season champion UC Irvine earned an at-large bid. The Anteaters, which captured a school record 22 wins and went undefeated (9-0) in Big West play, gained the postseason berth on the strength of a 20-match win streak that ended in the finals of the Big West Tournament. UCI defeated five ranked opponents during the season and the 31st-ranked club will get an opportunity to beat a sixth when it faces No. 63 San Jose State in the NCAA first round. The two teams will play at Marks Stadium on the campus of USC Saturday, May 11 at 9:00 a.m. The No. 4-seeded Trojans play Sacramento State in the other first round matchup. This is UCI's third trip to the NCAA Tournament and second as an at-large selection. The Anteaters fell in the first round of the 2007 and 2010 NCAA's in their two previous appearances.