The Alabama women’s tennis team will host NCAA first and second round action, while the Crimson Tide men will have a homecoming of sorts for new Coach George Husack, who came to Bama from Southern Cal. The Bama men will be the No. 2 seed in Los Angeles. First round matches are Friday, May 10.
This is the second consecutive year for the Alabama women to host first and second round play at The University Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide, coming in as the tournament’s No. 9 overall seed, will take on Northwestern State in the first round on Friday, May 10, at 1 p.m. CDT. That match will be followed by the Florida State/Memphis contest that will begin at 4 p.m. CDT.
The Crimson Tide men will take on San Diego in the first round on Friday, May 10, while the other first-round match-up will be host-institution Southern California against Sacramento State.
“This is a very exciting time for the program,” said Alabama Women’s Coach Jenny Mainz. “We have worked really hard and earned this opportunity to host. To play in front of our home crowd is awesome. The postseason is a new season. Anything can happen, and we are looking forward to playing our best tennis.”
This marks the 12th NCAA Championship appearance for the Alabama women (19-5) and the 10th under Mainz. Last season, the Tide won its opening contest, defeating Army, 4-0, before falling to Georgia Tech, 4-3, in the second round to move to 6-11 in the tournament. The Tide, the No. 1 seed in Tuscaloosa, will be looking to advance to the Round of 16 for the first time as Alabama's top finish in the 64-team field has been the second round on six occasions.
Florida State, coming off its third trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, will head to the tournament for the seventh-straight season and 16th overall. In last season’s NCAA Championship, the Seminoles (16-9) fell in the first round to Washington State, 4-3, setting their record in the tournament at 7-16.
Memphis is making its first appearance as a team in the NCAA Championship after collecting a 17-6 overall record, which includes a pair of top-25 victories. The Tigers earned an at-large bid after falling, 4-3, in the Conference USA semifinals to 24th-ranked Tulsa.
Northwestern State, the automatic qualifier from the Southland Conference, enters the tournament with a 14-7 record, with its most recent victory coming against Texas A&M – Corpus Christi to win the league championship. The Lady Demons are 0-1 overall in the NCAA Championship after dropping a 4-0 decision to top-ranked Baylor in the first round of the 2010 tournament.
The winners of both first round Tuscaloosa matches will meet on Saturday, May 11, at 1 p.m. CDT for the opportunity to advance into the Round of 16, which will take place on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill., beginning May 17.
Tickets for the first and second rounds are available at RollTide.com or by visiting or calling the Alabama Ticket Office at 1-877-TIDETIX. In addition, tickets will be on sale at the gate on May 10 and 11, beginning one hour prior to the start of match play. The cost per session is $5 for all ages and $3 for Alabama students.
The Alabama men (14-13) will be playing in the NCAA Championships for the 17th time in program history and first since 2010, where the Tide bowed out in the first round to East Tennessee State, 4-2. Alabama's best finish in the 64-team draw is the Round of 16, last accomplished in 2007.
“This is a very exciting time for the players and the coaching staff,” said Husack. “At the beginning of the year, we looked at making the tournament as a possible goal, but we just were not sure what would happen. This is a tremendous accomplishment.”
Husack will be returning to the place he called home for three seasons, having taken over the reins at Alabama after serving as associate head coach at USC. During his tenure, the Trojans won three-straight NCAA Championship titles.
San Diego (17-9) earned an at-large bid after losing to BYU in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament last weekend. The Toreros are making their third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship and 10th overall. The last two seasons, San Diego has advanced to the second round.
Sacramento State (17-12) will be making its 10th trip to the tournament in 15 seasons after securing the automatic berth out the Big Sky Conference by winning the league title. The Hornets have won their last three matches and 13 of their last 16 contests.
Four-time defending national champion Southern Cal (23-4) enters the tournament as the No. 4 overall seed. The Trojans fell short of winning back-to-back Pac-12 team titles last week, falling, 4-2, to top-ranked UCLA in the finals.
The winners of both first round matches will meet on Saturday, May 11, at 5 p.m. CDT for the opportunity to advance onto the Round of 16, which will take place on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill., beginning May 17.