CORPUS CHRISTI – The nationally-ranked Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's tennis team has earned the No. 3 seed in the College Station Regional, and will take on the University of Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, it was announced Tuesday. The Islanders and Longhorns will do battle in College Station on Friday, May 10, at 11 a.m. as part of the regional hosted by Texas A&M.
The Aggies will take on Marist in the other first round battle at the site, with the winners squaring off on Saturday, May 11, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. This will be the Islanders' fourth NCAA trip in the last six years.
"It's an honor for us to have been awarded a three seed at the NCAA National Championships," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "Our players have worked very hard and it's tremendously rewarding to have people recognize our work on a national level."
The Islanders and Longhorns met earlier this season in Austin, with the home team taking a 6-1 win on Feb. 21. Since that match, though, the Islanders have gone 16-2 to surge into the NCAA Tournament.
"Texas is a national powerhouse and has been for the last several years," Moore said. "We have a lot of respect for them. But we're also a different team now than we were when we played them the first time, and we are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. I believe in our guys against whoever we play."
Playing in a location that is centrally located within driving distance for supporters in Dallas, Houston and Corpus Christi should also provide for a crowd that is filled with blue and green shirts.
"College Station is a great site, a place that I once coached, and we have a comfort level with playing there," Moore said. "It's also an easy drive, and we have had a passionate group of Islanders Tennis supporters lifting us up and pulling us through. I can't speak enough of our gratitude to our fans – they've truly made a difference in getting us here. We need to see all the Islanders Blue we can in order to get this done."
The Islanders earned their NCAA ticket by winning the Southland Conference Tournament for the fourth time in the last six years, knocking off New Orleans 4-2 in the finals to garner the automatic bid. The team has won the Southland regular-season title in each of the last six seasons, with Moore having taken seven straight Southland Coach of the Year honors. Each of those distinctions is a first in league history.
This will be the second time in the last five years that the Islanders earned a three seed in the College Station regional, as they took on Arizona in the opening round of the 2009 tournament, falling to the Wildcats in that postseason appearance. A&M – Corpus Christi last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2011, when they were the No. 4 seed in the Waco regional, falling 4-1 at the hands of Baylor.
The individual singles and doubles brackets for the tournament will be announced Wednesday, May 1. Peter Nagy, the Islanders' No. 1 player and No. 97 ranked singles player in the NCAA, will be looking to secure a bid into the individual tournament that is scheduled to start just days after the completion of the team bracket at the same championship site in Urbana, Ill.
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