COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M women’s tennis team earned its ninth consecutive bid to the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships and will face the University of Washington in the first round, Friday, May 9 at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on the University of Stanford campus in Stanford, Calif.
The winner advances to the second round and will take on the winner between No. 4 seed Stanford and Boston University on Saturday at Stanford. The second-round winner advances to the Round of 16 to be played at the University of Tulsa’s Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla., beginning May 15.
Exact times of the first- and second-round matches, as well as ticket information will be posted as soon as information becomes available.
The Aggies, who are making their 14th overall NCAA appearance, are 16-8 and ranked No. 31 in the nation after advancing to the semifinals of the Big 12 Championships. A&M, which placed third in the Big 12 regular season with a 9-2 record, fell to Texas in a third-set tiebreaker in the last match standing on Saturday.
Washington (12-9, 2-6 Pac-10), ranked No. 38, is making its first appearance in the NCAAs since 2005.
“I don’t know a lot about (Washington)”, A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said. “It will be a fun match. The good thing about it is that this is a different match-up. It is a different feel. I know the players are going to be excited about this. Just going to a different place is going to be a great trip for the girls, and I know that they have their heart set on a lot. I don’t think we are through playing our tennis yet.”
This is the first time since 2001 the Aggies have been sent out of state for the NCAA opening round, having hosted twice, gone to Texas twice and most recently made back-to-back trips to Baylor.
“I knew it was going to be an interesting deal this year, because I felt like four teams in our area were going to be potential No. 2 seeds,” Kleinecke said. “So I knew that was going to be a little bit of a dilemma for the committee. They could have bumped up to a No. 3 seed and possibly sent us to Waco. Instead it looked that all four got the second seed, so that is a great tribute to our area.”
Stanford, which has won five of the last seven NCAA team championships, is 19-4 after winning 13 of its last 14 matches. The Cardinal went 7-1 in Pac-10 play, earning a share of the regular season championship with UCLA and extending the program's streak of 21 consecutive league titles.
American East representative Boston University (11-7) is making its 10th consecutive appearance in the NCAAs, having received an automatic berth after capturing the Terriers' 15th consecutive league title.
“We’ll take them one at a time,” Kleinecke said. “Washington is going to be a tough match for us. I know that they have a good program. The Texas coach (Patty Fendick-McCain) used to coach there and brought them up to the elite in the nation. We will have our hands full.
“The opportunity to play Stanford at their own courts will be a fun deal for the girls. Anything can happen this time of year. No one has a free ride all the way through.”
A&M has faced Washington and Stanford only one time each in the past. The Huskies defeated A&M, 8-1, in 1984. Stanford also won its only meeting against the Aggies, having defeated A&M 5-1 in 1998. A&M has never played the Terriers.
Thirty-one teams earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament, and 33 teams received at-large bids. Georgia Tech is the defending national-champion. Baylor earned the Big 12 automatic bid by winning the league tournament last weekend in College Station. The Big 12 also is represented by Big 12 Championship runner-up Texas,
Last year A&M defeated TCU, 4-1, in the first round to advance to the second round for the fifth straight year. The Aggies then fell to host Baylor, 4-1.
The NCAA Individual Championship participants will be posted on the NCAA Web site (www.ncaasports.com) Wednesday no later than 5 p.m.