LA JOLLA, Calif. -
After posting a perfect dual match record during the regular season, the UC San Diego men's tennis team will advance to the NCAA Division II Championship for the 11th consecutive season following at large selection in the 48-team tournament field on Tuesday.
The Tritons, who are ranked 10th in the current ITA national poll, enter the tournament as the top seed in the West Region and will advance straight to the NCAA Finals, which are scheduled for May 11-14 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla. UCSD will face the team that emerges from the second Southeast Regional site on Wednesday, May 11 at a time to be determined.
"We're definitely excited," 13th-year head coach Eric Steidlmayer said after the brackets came out. "We've had a great year so far, but now we're in the postseason and we have to step it up. The Southeast is a tough draw no matter who we face, but we'll be ready to play."
Hawaii Pacific (18-2) is the second seed in the West and also earned an automatic trip to the Round of 16.
UCSD has put together a tremendous run in 2011, posting an unblemished record of 20-0 during the regular season. The Tritons' recorded victories over several elite programs during the season, including HPU twice, and earned wins over Division I opponents UC Riverside, Villanova and Lafayette College.
The Tritons went 4-0 last week -- including a three-match sweep of Hawaii Hilo, Grand Canyon and host Sonoma State at the SSU Invitational -- to wrap up the first undefeated season in program history.
UCSD is led by senior Erik Elliott, who enters the postseason as the 11th-ranked singles player in the nation after posting a 17-3 record in the top spot on the ladder this season. Elliott and doubles partner Austin West are the nation's 23rd-ranked duo after going 18-2.
Other standouts for the Tritons include juniors Chapman Chan and Sam Ling, as well as senior Vincent Nguyen and freshman Max Jiganti. Chan and Jiganti have been huge in both single and doubles play, while Ling and Nguyen are key singles contributors.
UCSD and Hawaii Pacific met twice during the regular season, with the Tritons coming out on top in both meetings. UCSD edged HPU, 5-4, during the Grand Canyon Invitational on February 12 and then posted a 6-3 triumph over the Sea Warriors on March 12 in La Jolla.
The Tritons will be making their first NCAA Finals appearance since the 2007 season when they lost 5-1 to Valdosta State in the semifinals. UCSD was on the wrong end of 5-1 decision with BYU-Hawaii in the first round of the West Regional last season.
For more information on the NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Championship, click here.