LA JOLLA, Calif. - For the 12th time in the last 13 seasons, the UC San Diego men's tennis team has qualified to compete at the NCAA Division II Championships. The official selections were announced by the NCAA Tuesday evening.
"The team has been watching and waiting for the official announcement and we are excited to get ready and go," said first-year UCSD head coach Timmer Willing. "We've been planning for it for the whole year and achieving the goals that we've been setting and now we have the opportunity to really see where we stand."
UCSD is one of 48 teams nationwide that will continue on to postseason play. Along with Hawaii Pacific, the Tritons will represent the West Region and advance directly to the 16-team NCAA Finals, which will be contested May 8-11 in Surprise, Ariz.
The other 14 teams advancing to Arizona will be determined by preliminary round results. The top-two finishers from each of the seven other regions (Atlantic, Central, East, Midwest, South, South Central, Southeast) will join UCSD and HPU at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Club.
The Tritons go in as the second seed from the West, while the Sea Warriors are the No. 1 seed. UCSD is currently ranked 28th nationally and HPU is fifth.
In its first round match-up, UCSD will play the winner of the Midwest 1 Regional on Wednesday, May 8 at 10 a.m. (PT). No. 34 Ferris State (17-5), No. 45 Rockhurst (13-7) and 40th-ranked Southern Indiana (16-4) will compete in that regional April 27 and 28, with SIU serving as the host school.
The quarterfinals are slated for May 9, the seminfinals will be May 10 and the final will close out the Division II season on May 11 in Arizona.
This year, UCSD has already faced four of the teams selected for NCAA postseason play, including Hawaii Pacific (9-0 loss, 5-0 loss), Rollins (6-3 loss), West Florida (5-4 loss) and Western New Mexico (7-2 win).
The Tritons finished their regular season with a 12-10 overall record, winning five of their final eight matches.
"We will really be intensifying practices this week," said Willing. "Since we won't be playing a match until we get to Arizona, we will try to simulate real matches the best we can. The other teams will be competing in regional play and fighting to get out of their region, so we need to keep up our intensity like they will be."
UC San Diego returns to the NCAA Championships after missing the cut in 2012 for the first time since moving to Division II status in 2001.
The Tritons also went directly to the Finals in 2011, where they were defeated, 5-0, by Columbus State in the Round of 16. Junior Max Jiganti is the only current Triton that competed during the 2011 postseason.
Armstrong Atlantic is the defending national champion and has won three of the last five titles.
-- UCSDtritons.com --