Arkansas to Take on California at ITA Indoor N
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.-Thursday the Arkansas Razorbacks will begin first round action against the California Bears at the USTA/ITA Team Indoor Championship in Louisville, Ky.The tournament features 16 of the top teams in the nation. This year’s competition marks the sixth time the Razorbacks have made an appearance at the ITA Indoor Tournament, where they have a 5-10 all-time record.Arkansas, a 13-seed and ranked No. 28, is above two other schools in the national rankings: San Diego State and Harvard. Other participants include Baylor, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Southern Cal, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA. In all, five SEC teams are in the competition, the most from any conference. The top eight seeds are also the top eight ranked teams in the nation.The latest ranking report (Feb. 19) shows the lowest ranked teams qualifying for the tournament to be Harvard at No. 32 and San Diego State at No. 33. Arkansas slipped to No. 28 from 26 following a week off of play. The rest of the field is ranked in the top 25.Up first for the Razorbacks will be No.4 California, which carries a 4-0 record into the tournament. This USTA/ITA Team Indoor Championship marks the first time Arkansas has played California since 1986 when it defeated California, 5-3.“It is exciting to play California because we are not familiar with them or their program,” Cox said. “It is great to play a highly ranked team with their prestigious tennis history.”This will be a first for all of the current Razorbacks, as this becomes the first time the Hogs have played at the Indoor Championship since 1993. Arkansas gained the chance to represent Region V of the ITA when it beat out Indiana State and Tulsa on Nov. 3, 2002. The Razorbacks best performance in the tournament came in 1980 when they advanced to the quarterfinals.“It has been over a decade since we have been part of the ITA national tournament,” Cox said. “It will be a great opportunity for our program to move forward and step out of our comfort zone. We are guaranteed three matches, and want to go into the tournament to do some damage and make a brighter mark for ourselves.”California has four players ranked inside the top 100 in the singles rankings led by No. 31 Conor Niland and No. 35 Balazs Veress.Arkansas plays California at 9 a.m. at the Louisville Indoor Racquet Club.
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