Old Dominion, William & Mary tennis teams head to North Carolina for NCAA Tournament
The conference championship tennis teams of Old Dominion and William & Mary will head to Tobacco Road for stiff challenges this weekend in the NCAA Tournament.
Both of the Monarchs’ Sun Belt title teams will be in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for matches at times to be announced.
The ODU women, ranked 33rd in the nation and led by Tatsiana Sasnouskaya at the No. 1 spot, will carry a 13-match winning streak into their neutral-site clash against No. 34 South Carolina this weekend.
Barring an unfathomable first-round upset by Big South champion Charleston Southern, the ODU-South Carolina victor will play in the round of 32 against top-seeded North Carolina.
The Tar Heels (29-1) were undefeated until falling in the ACC Tournament title match to North Carolina State, which received the No. 3 NCAA seed. Coincidentally, coaches Brian Kalbas of UNC and Kevin Epley of South Carolina are former coaches of William & Mary, whose current team won the Colonial Athletic Association championship to claim its 25th NCAA berth.
Coach Jessica Giuggioli’s Tribe (15-5) will go to Duke to face the sixth-seeded Blue Devils (22-4). The other match in Durham, North Carolina, will pit No. 20 UCLA (13-7) against No. 37 Texas Tech (14-10).
ODU women’s coach Dom Manilla grew up in Charlottesville, which also will be the site of early NCAA matches. Virginia’s women (18-6) gained the No. 12 seed and a home match against Long Island (13-10). If they win as expected, the Cavaliers, who reached last year’s quarterfinals, will take on the victor between No. 49 Princeton (16-6) and Atlantic 10 champion Fordham (14-7).
The 62nd-ranked Old Dominion men (18-9), who overcame considerable adversity to win the Sun Belt Tournament, will meet No. 19 Utah (23-5) on UNC’s courts. The winner of that clash will face the victor between 16th-seeded UNC (17-8) and No. 66 Drake (16-10).
Defending NCAA champion Virginia (24-4) was seeded fifth. The Cavaliers (24-4) struggled, by their lofty standards, early in the season but have won 16 straight — including the ACC regular season and tournament — and haven’t lost on outdoor courts all year. They retained several players from last season’s title team.
UVA will open against Patriot League champion Navy (23-19), and the other encounter in Charlottesville will feature No. 38 VCU (20-5), the Atlantic 10 representative, against No. 27 Mississippi (17-9).
Once the field is down to 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams, Super Regional matches will be held May 12 or 13 on higher seeds’ campuses. That will narrow each field to eight, and the rest of the event — plus all of the individual singles and doubles championships — will be held at the USTA National Campus near Orlando, Florida. The team event will be held from May 18-20.