LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 11th-ranked UC San Diego men's tennis team is heading back to the NCAA Division II Championships as the 48 teams selected for postseason play were announced Tuesday.
UCSD, along with Hawaii Pacific, ranked third nationally, will represent the West Region and advance directly to the NCAA Finals, which will be held May 14-17 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla., about 10 miles north of Orlando.
With a 15-9 record in dual matches this season, UCSD will be the second seed from the West. Undefeated at 20-0, HPU is the top seed from the region.
"This has been our goal from day one," said UCSD head coach Timmer Willing. "We played a tough schedule in preparation and overcame some hurdles during the year, but now it's here, it's time to go and we couldn't be more excited."
The other 14 teams advancing to Florida will be determined by preliminary round results. The top-two finishers from each of the seven other NCAA regions (Atlantic, Central, East, Midwest, South, South Central, Southeast) will join UCSD and HPU at Sanlando Park.
In the opening round, the Tritons will play the top seed advancing out of the South Central Region on May 14 at 10:30 a.m. (Pacific). The South Central Region, listed in order of seeding, is comprised of Midwestern State (14-4), Cameron (12-4), St. Edward's (12-2), Western New Mexico (11-5) and Colorado Mesa (9-5).
This season, UC San Diego has played against two of the teams that earned NCAA bids, including Hawaii Pacific (7-2 loss, 9-0 loss) and Barry (8-1 loss). Barry is currently ranked second in the country.
UCSD has qualified for the NCAA postseason in 13 of the last 14 years, missing out just once (2012) since the school moved to Division II status prior to the team's 2001 campaign.
"It's really exciting to get in the tournament again because we lost some significant players from last season's lineup, but we did a great job filling in those holes," said Willing, in his second year as head coach of the Tritons.
In 2013, UC San Diego also advanced directly to the NCAA Finals, which were held in Surprise, Ariz. The Tritons won their opening round match, defeating Southern Indiana by a 5-3 count. In the quarterfinals, their season came to an end with a 5-1 loss against West Florida.
Barry won the 2013 national title by edging Armstrong Atlantic, 5-4, in the championship match.