COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 35-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team earned its 14th consecutive postseason berth as the field of 64 teams for the upcoming 2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Team Championship was announced Tuesday.
The Aggies (14-11) will face Conference USA runner-up Rice (15-11) in first-round action on Friday, May 11 at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco, Texas. First serve is set for 3 p.m. Host Baylor (24-3) was one of eight top seeds and will take on Mid-Continent Conference champion Oral Roberts (10-7) in the first round at 6 p.m. A&M and BU were one of six Big 12 Conference schools to earn an NCAA Championship bid along with Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The second round will be played on Saturday, March 12 at 5 p.m.
“It is great for us to have the opportunity to play in the NCAA Championship,” said first-year Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton. “We will have a tough first-round match against a very good Rice team. They have been a quality opponent for most of the teams they have played against this year. It will be a toss-up match that will come down to who executes on the big points and who really wants it more. We are certainly capable of playing well and will look to make a good run (in postseason play).”
BU and Rice are currently ranked No. 4 and No. 30 respectively in the latest ITA/FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings. Baylor swept the Big 12 regular season and postseason championship titles this season. A&M boasts two nationally-ranked singles players in junior All-American Jerry Makowski (Bradenton, Fla.) and sophomore Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) who are ranked No. 65 and No. 68 respectively. The Aggies have advanced to the Round of 16 eight times and the Elite Eight once in 2001. Denton previously guided Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to its first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in 2005.
A&M holds a 27-3 advantage in the all-time series versus former Southwest Conference rival Rice. Both teams last met in 2004 as A&M defeated the then No. 11-ranked Owls, 4-3, in College Station. Meanwhile, the Aggies lead Baylor (23-12) and Oral Roberts (1-0) in the all-time series. They have never met Rice or ORU in NCAA Championship play, but are 0-1 versus the Bears with a 4-0 loss in the Round of 16 in 2005.
The winner of each first-and second-round site will advance to the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships to be held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. The team championship will be held May 17-22. Thirty-one conferences received automatic bids, while 33 at-large bids were handed out by the selection committee.
Last season, the 16th-seeded Aggies defeated fourth-seeded Texas-Arlington (4-0) in the first round, but later fell to second-seeded Notre Dame (4-2) in the second round held in College Station. A&M has been selected to the team championship every year since 1994 and has made 15 overall appearances including a 1985 berth.
NCAA Individual Championship participants in singles and doubles will be posted on the NCAA website at www.ncaasports.com on Wednesday, May 2 before 5 p.m.
NCAA MEN’S TENNIS FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS
May 11-12, 2007
Baylor Tennis Center
at Waco, Texas
Friday, May 11
Texas A&M vs. Rice at 3 p.m.
(2) Baylor vs. Oral Roberts at 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 12
Men’s First Round Winners at 5 p.m.