LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville men’s tennis team will travel to Oxford, Miss., to face North Carolina State in the first round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Kick-Off Regional Friday at 9 a.m.
"We are excited to be selected to play in our fifth Kick-Off Regional,” said U of L head coach Rex Ecarma. “This weekend is the first and second rounds of the National Indoor Team Championship and features the top 61 teams in our sport because it is completely at-large selections and with no automatic qualifiers. We look forward to the challenge of playing in a tough bracket."
The No. 36 Cards earned the No. 2 seed in the Oxford Regional and will face third-seeded NC State in the first round match Friday at 9 a.m. Top-seeded host, No. 13 Ole Miss will play No. 44 Columbia at 2 p.m. The consolation match will take place Saturday at 8 a.m. with the championship match following at 1 p.m. The winner of this weekend’s regional will advance to the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship which will be hosted next month by the University of Washington.
U of L enters the weekend with a 3-1 record. The 36th ranked Cards are coming off of a 4-1 loss at Northwestern. Prior to that, they had opened the season with three straight wins.
Sophomore Sebastian Stiefelmeyer stands in at No. 82 in the singles rankings while sophomore Albert Wagner and freshman Alex Gornet are No. 31 in doubles. Sophomore Chris Simich leads the team with a 14-5 overall singles record and is 3-1 in dual matches. Wagner and Gornet have a team-best 10-1 doubles record. The duo is on a five-match win streak.
Last season, the Cardinals posted an 18-10 record and made their fourth straight and ninth overall NCAA appearance under the guidance of 2012 BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year Rex Ecarma. U of L captured its third consecutive and fourth overall BIG EAST Conference title with a 4- 2 win over South Florida to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Cards against the field
Series Record: Louisville leads 3-1
Last meeting: Jan. 21, 2011- Louisville won 7-0 at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center.
Scouting the Wolfpack
At No. 41 in the ITA team rankings, the Wolfpack brings a 2-0 record into the regional following a 4-3 upset of No. 22 Indiana. NC State opened the season with a 4-3 road win at Penn State.
Series Record: Ole Miss leads 201
Last meeting: Jan. 30, 2011 –Then 13th ranked Louisville defeated No. 18 Ole Miss 4-2 at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center in the finals of the ITA Kick-off Regional.
Scouting the Rebels
Host 13th ranked Mississippi will open the season this weekend after advancing to the round of 16 in the 2012 NCAA tournament. The 2013 preseason SEC favorites are led by All-Americans Jonas Lutjen who is ranked fifth in the nation in singles and Nik Scholtz who is No. 30. William Kallberg and Adrian Forberg Skogeng are ranked No. 25 in doubles while Lutjen and Scholtz are No. 43.
Series Record: Louisville leads 1-0
Last meeting: Jan. 29, 2011 – Louisville won 4-0 in the first round of the ITA Kick-off Regional at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center.
Scouting the Lions
Columbia brings an 0-1 record into the weekend coming off a 4-3 loss No. 58 BYU. Columbia boasts two doubles teams ranked among the top 40 in the nation including No. 17Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur and No. 38 Bert Vancura and Winston Lin. Lin is also No. 44 in the ITA singles rankings.
Oxford - (1) Ole Miss, (2) Louisville, (3) NC State, (4) Columbia
About the ITA Kick-Off Weekend
Collegiate tennis will be back in full force as the fifth annual ITA Kick-Off Weekend is set for January 25-28. Across the nation, 60 schools will be competing for the 15 vacant spots at the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship which will be hosted next month by the University of Washington.
The 15 universities hosting ITA Kick-Off Weekend events were designated as host sites in order of their year-end 2012 ITA team ranking. Three visiting schools will travel to each host site for a four-team tournament with the host school facing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed. The winners will come back the following day to play for a berth at the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship.