The NCAA Tennis Championships are coming to Tennessee next week.
The 64-team men’s field was announced Tuesday and the sixth-ranked Vols secured an overall No. 7 seed and will host first- and second-round matches at Barksdale Stadium.
The Vols will face Mid-Eastern Conference champions South Carolina State at 2 p.m. on May 10. It will be the first meeting between the two schools. The other first-round matchup that day will pit Boise State against Clemson. The winners will meet at 1 p.m. on May 11.
No. 2 ranked Mikelis Libietis is looking forward to the tournament.
“I think before I came to college every time that we played was a tournament,” the sophomore from Latvia said. “You lose, you go home. For me, it’s kind of exciting to go back and play tournaments. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Clemson is the No. 2 seed in the region. The Vols beat the Tigers 4-3 last season.
Tennessee coach Sam Winterbotham knows his group will have to work hard to come out of the same region as Clemson.
“I think they have some young players on the team,” Winterbotham said. “I think they have a couple of brothers who play very well together in doubles. And also are difficult in singles. Last year’s team to this year’s team, that’s very similar to us. They’re much improved.”
Women’s Tennis: The No. 29 Tennessee Lady Vols will take on Virginia Commonwealth on May 11 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Lady Vols will be making their 19th consecutive tournament appearance and 23rd overall.
Overall No. 2 North Carolina is hosting the first two rounds and will face South Carolina State in the other first-round match.
The winners will play May 12.
No. 41 VCU enters the tournament on a 13-match winning streak and co-head coach Mike Patrick is well aware of the task at hand.
“We’ll be ready to compete and I think that’s the big thing,” Patrick said. “We’re going to have to go out there and play our best tennis to get a chance to go on, but those guys are pretty confident. They haven’t lost since February. That’s pretty tough, but we’ll be ready. It’s a good challenge and something I look forward to doing.”