SURPRISE, Ariz. - The 14th-ranked UC San Diego men's tennis team opens the NCAA Division II Championships Wednesday with a Sweet 16 match against Southern Indiana at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex outside of Phoenix.
UCSD and USI take to the courts at 10 a.m. (PT). The match can be followed with live stats.
For UCSD, it is the 12th NCAA postseason appearance since the school moved to Division II status for the 2001 season. The Tritons, 12-10 overall this year, earned a spot as the second seed from the West Region. Along with top-seeded Hawaii Pacific, they advanced directly to the round of 16 without having to play a regional.
No. 31 Southern Indiana is making its first-ever showing in the final 16. The Screaming Eagles, 17-4 on the season, played their way in by winning the Midwest 1 Regional. They defeated Ferris State, 5-0, in the regional championship match.
"The big key for us in tomorrow's match is doubles," said UCSD head coach Timmer Willing. "Southern Indiana is strong in doubles play, as well as serving. If we can get off to a good start in doubles, I'm pretty confident we'll be okay."
Slated to compete in singles for UCSD are senior Camill Salomon, junior Max Jiganti, junior Rajeev Herekar, freshman Ganesh Alagappan, sophomore Kona Luu and freshman Horea Porutiu. The doubles teams will be Salomon/sophomore Devon Sousa, Jiganti/Luu and Herekar/sophomore Teddy Truong.
Southern Indiana's singles lineup will include Michael Kuzaj, Juan Quiroz, Santiago Lopez, Ben Boesing, Jack Joyce and Rodrigo Flores. Competing in doubles will be Kuzaj/Quiroz, Boesing/Joyce and Flores/Lopez.
In the national rankings, Salomon is 41st in singles, while USI's doubles team of Kujaz and Quiroz is 25th.
UCSD and USI have one opponent in common this season. The Tritons defeated DePauw, 6-3, on March 27 at home in California. The Eagles downed the Tigers by a 7-2 count on Feb. 20 on the road.
The Tritons have not competed since April 13 at Division I UC Irvine.
"The intensity level of our practices has been very high for the last three weeks in preparation for the NCAA's," said Willing. "We made some adjustments to create a lot more conditioning within our drills to stay in shape and stay match-tough."
The winner of Wednesday's first round match will play the winner of the No. 3 West Florida/Bluefield State match in a quarterfinal on May 9 at 8 a.m. UCSD was edged by West Florida, 5-4, in La Jolla on March 12.
-- UCSDtritons.com --