CHARLESTON, S.C. - The 2012 Southern Conference champion College of Charleston men's and women's tennis teams are going dancing as the 64-team field and 16 first-and second-round sites for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Tennis Championships was announced on Tuesday.
As the men's and women's tennis automatic qualifiers out of the SoCon, the CofC men (18-4) and women (25-5) will not have to travel too far from home for postseason tournament play.
The men will face 15th-seeded and No. 17-ranked North Carolina (13-7) in first-round action on Saturday, May 12 at noon (ET) at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. The winner will then meet either Tennessee (14-13) or UNC Wilmington (17-6) in the second round on Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m. (ET).
The Cougars are making only their second all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2003 - a 4-0 first-round loss at ninth-seeded Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. This past season, they captured their third consecutive SoCon regular-season title under the leadership of 2012 SoCon Men's Tennis Coach of the Year Jay Bruner.
"I'm thrilled for the guys and our tennis program being able to get back to a regional," Bruner said. "They have earned it and we are excited for the opportunity. Chapel Hill is a little comfortable for us, since we play our ITA Fall Regional there every year. We are excited to play UNC. They have a great team and have had a great season in a tough league - the ACC. We have played against a good number of their players on their team and played on their courts before. All of that gives us a little different approach to the match. We have some matchups we are looking forward to next week."
Meanwhile, the women will compete against sixth-seeded and No. 6-ranked Georgia (21-4) in the first round of play on Friday, May 11 at 1 p.m. (ET) at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The winner will move on to face either Clemson (15-9) or Arizona State (11-9) in the second round on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m. (ET). Live scoring and video will be available at: www.GeorgiaDogs.com.
The Cougars, who are currently ranked a program-best tying No. 60 in the nation in the latest Campbell's/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings, claimed their fourth consecutive SoCon Tournament title and turned in their first 25-win campaign in school history under CofC Director of Tennis Angelo Anastopoulo. They are making their fifth all-time NCAA appearance next to 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
"What a great streak we have going right now," said Anastopoulo, whose team enters the tournament on a seven-match winning stretch and tied with Duke for the most victories (25) in the country entering the NCAA Tournament. "Winning the Southern Conference championship with nine out of the 11 teams having winning records this year, is a tribute and complement to our team, the hardwork they have put in and being able to play at a consistent level. When you think of women's college tennis, you think of Stanford, Florida and Georgia who have won several national titles. It's one of the premier facilities in the country and host site of the national championship. (Georgia) Coach (Jeff) Wallace is a veteran and has been there for over 25 years and knows how to win. He won't overlook us. We've known each other a long time. He will have his very talented team prepared for us and likewise. If they are going to beat us, they are going to earn it."
The winner of each four-team tournament site will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 hosted also by Georgia on May 17-22 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
The teams will play a single-elimination tournament at 16 first-and second-round sites (four teams at each site) and the final site (16-team bracket) to determine the national champion. The matches shall be regulation dual matches with three (3) eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six (6) singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight games all in doubles and at six games all in singles.