FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ tennis team earned its fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament in six years on Wednesday and the Razorbacks face Michigan in the first round on May 13.
Arkansas, ranked No. 25 in the final regular-season FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings, travels to sixth-seeded Ohio State for the first and second round matches. The winner of that four-team region advances to the championships at Stanford along with the winner of the other 15 regions.
Ohio State is the No. 1 seed in the Columbus Region. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 6 in the nation. OSU faces unranked and fourth-seeded Butler in the first round.
Michigan, the No. 3 seed, is 13-11 and ranked No. 39. The Wolverines lost to Ohio State 4-0 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on April 29.
UM is led by Matko Maravic, who is 17-18 and ranked No. 43.
“We’re excited about going to Columbus,” head coach Robert Cox says. “Michigan is a storied program and has a great tennis tradition. They’ll know our style of play and will be ready to play. It will be exciting to play someone we’ve never played before.”
Arkansas, 17-10, is led by four ranked players. Senior Adrians Zguns is No. 17 in the nation, senior Matt Roberts is No. 74, senior Rohan Gajjar No. 118 and freshman Blake Strode No. 121. Zguns, Strode and Roberts earned All-SEC honors this year.
Roberts leads the team with a 27-9 singles mark. Strode is 26-6, Zguns 24-10 and Gajjar 21-8. They’ve had plenty of help with Michael Jung going 23-8, Colin Mascall 12-11 and Austin King 11-7.
Zguns is third on Arkansas’ all-time victories list with 102. Roberts’ 27 wins tie for the 11th-best single-season total in school history while Strode’s 26 wins tie for 14th-best.
Cox’s lineup will feature Zguns at No. 1, Gajjar at No. 2, Roberts No. 3, Strode No. 4, Mascall No. 5 and King at No. 6.
For Michigan, Maravic gets help from Peter Aarts, 14-13; Steve Peretz, 16-16; Andrew Mazlin, 18-20; Brian Hung, 17-19; and Ryan Heller, 17-20.
“We’ve had a great season and I think our guys will rally behind our three seniors and send them off on a high note,” Cox says. “Michigan will be a very exciting match.”
The Razorbacks have advanced to the second round or beyond in five of their last six NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2004, UA beat Oklahoma State and Tennessee to reach the Round of 16.
Arkansas has faced Michigan once in NCAA Tournament play, recording a 5-0 victory in 1980.