Arkansas Earns Berth in NCAA Tennis Tournament
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the 15th time in school history including the third straight year, the Arkansas men’s tennis team will take to the court in the NCAA Tennis Championships.
The Hogs (11-14), ranked 36th nationally, received a three seed in the Lexington Regional and will play No. 22 Ohio State (20-6) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Razorbacks and Buckeyes will be squaring off in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, May 10. Times for first round matches will be announced later this week.
Joining Arkansas and Ohio State at the Lexington Regional are Kentucky, the tournaments No. 4 seed and No. 1 regionally, and their opponent Hampton, the No. 4 regional seed.
The Razorbacks and a contingent of fans gathered to watch the NCAA selection show where the Hogs saw their name flash across the screen during ESPNews’ broadcast of the selection show.
Head coach Robert Cox was pleased with the selection and is looking forward to getting his team back on the courts for another go-around.
“We are pleased to make it for the third straight year,” Cox said. “We kept the streak going. It was a little tight going into the last three weeks of the season, but I think our early season play got us in.
“Playing Ohio State will be fun because we don’t know much about each other. Hopefully we will be at full strength and ready to go. Playing in an SEC venue like Kentucky is going to make us feel comfortable there. They have a great facility. We are familiar with the city of Lexington, but we’re not going to worry about Kentucky. We have to focus on Ohio State. The last time we played there, we were successful so we will be comfortable there.”
Ohio State features two ranked singles players. Senior Vince Ng is No. 38, while junior Jeremy Wurtzman is No. 33. The doubles duo of freshman Ross Wilson and junior Conor Casey is ranked 43rd. The Buckeyes lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament to the No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers. However, during the regular season they finished second.
This will be the first time that the Hogs have faced the Buckeyes. The tournament berth is the third straight for the Hogs and their 15th time getting in the tournament. The Razorbacks are 9-14 in the big dance and will be looking to reach their third straight regional final. In addition, this is the sixth time that Cox has guided the Razorbacks to post season play.
The SEC bode well, landing eleven of the league’s twelve teams in the tournament with Tennessee being the only one left out.
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