To the tournament! – The University of Arkansas women’s tennis team was ecstatic Wednesday evening after learning of their invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Razorbacks (10-10) begin tournament play on May 12 against the Texas Longhorns (17-10). The first round match will be on the courts of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas at 3:00 p.m.
Long time, No see – A bid to the national championship tournament had escaped the Lady Razorbacks since 2001. That year, the Lady’Backs made it to the round of 32 with a first round win over 36th ranked Miami. Arkansas’ best finish in the NCAA Tournament came during the 1998 season, where the Lady’Backs pushed all the way to the quarterfinal round with a 5-2 win over LSU. In the quarterfinal match, the Lady’Backs were handled by fourth-ranked Duke, 5-1.
All-time in the postseason – Arkansas’ overall record in the tournament is 8-6 in six appearances. The Lady’Backs made all six tournament appearances within a six-year span beginning in 1996. The Lady’Backs made it past the first round in five of those years, and advanced past the second round in 1997 and 1998.
The rest of the Fort Worth Field – Mountain West Conference Champion TCU (21-6) and Conference USA Champion Rice (13-12) are slated in the other first-round match in Fort Worth. The two first-round winners will face off in the NCAA regional final slated for Saturday, May 13 in Fort Worth.
Hegarty’s Tournament history – This year’s tournament selection marks Hegarty’s fifth as a head coach after four straight tournament appearances at Fresno State. Counting appearances as an assistant, he tacks on another five trips to the NCAA Tournament for a total of nine appearances prior to this year.
Hegarty on the tournament selection – “It’s exciting to be selected into the NCAA Tournament. It’s a great part of the draw to be in with such strong programs and I expect that will bring out the best in us. This is more evidence of us making headway towards becoming a nationally competitive program. Our players work very hard and are looking forward to playing more tennis this year.”
More on Texas — Texas is the reigning NCAA runner-up from 2005 while also finishing second at the ITA National Indoor Championships last October. The Longhorns finished 17-11 this season. Head Coach Patty Fendick-McCain was honored as the NCAA’s Division I Tennis Most Outstanding Student-Athleteas the NCAA promoted the 25th national women’s tournament. Fendick-McCain competed in tennis at Stanford from 1983-87. She claimed the NCAA Division I singles championship as a junior and senior (1986, 1987) while leading Stanford to three NCAA team championships (in 1984, ’86, ’87). Fendick-McCain also was a 1985 NCAA singles semifinalist and a 1987 NCAA doubles finalist. She set the NCAA record for consecutive victories at the No. 1 singles position (57) during her Stanford career, a record which stood from 1987 until 2001.