STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the second-consecutive season, the 12th-ranked Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (16-9) has been selected as a host for the 2013 NCAA Championship First and Second Rounds. State will host the event Friday and Saturday, May 10-11, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on campus.
Play will begin Friday, May 10, with the first match pitting 21st-ranked Harvard against 75th-ranked Samford at 10 a.m. CT. Following the Crimson and Bulldogs, No. 12 MSU will face Austin Peay, scheduled to start no earlier than 1 p.m. The winners of the Friday affairs will then face each other in the second round matchup on Saturday, May 11, at 1 p.m. for the right to advance to the NCAA round of 16 in Champaign, Ill., on May 16.
MSU received the No. 10 overall seed in the 64-team NCAA Men's Tennis Championship this year, which concludes with four rounds in Champaign, Ill., May 16-21. This marks the second-straight season and the seventh in school history that the Bulldogs have earned a top 10 national seed.
"We’re really excited about having the opportunity to host for a second-straight year in the NCAA’s,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “The guys are excited about the chance to play at home, but now we have to prepare for some tough competition ahead.”
Coming into Starkville as the 17-32 alphabetical seed is the Harvard Crimson, the 2013 Ivy League champion. The Crimson captured their second-straight outright Ivy League title after winning 13 of their last 14 matches, including going 6-1 in conference play. Harvard will be making their second-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and the 22nd in school history, having amassed a 13-20 all-time record. The trip to Starkville will mark the first-ever by Harvard in any sport.
Harvard will open tourney play against the No. 75 Samford Bulldogs, who captured the Southern Conference tourney title for the third time since 2008. After posting a 15-9 record and a 7-3 conference record, the Bulldogs earned their second NCAA Championship bid in the last three seasons.
The final competitors in the field at MSU are the Austin Peay Governors, hailing from Clarksville, Tenn. The Govs come to Starkville after winning their first Ohio Valley Conference since 1974, earning them their first NCAA appearance in school history. APSU is 17-3 on the season and has won 17 of their last 18 matches, with the one conference loss coming to Tennessee Tech, who MSU defeated 5-0 earlier this season. State is 6-0 all-time against the Governors.
Tickets for the NCAA event at MSU may be purchased in advance or on each day of the tournament. An all-tournament pass is $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Fans interested in purchasing advance all-tournament tickets may do so by contacting the Mississippi State Athletic Ticket Office (662-325-2600 or 1-888-GO-DAWGS) beginning Thursday, May 2. They can also be ordered online at www.HailState.com/tickets.
This is the third year in a row for MSU to make the NCAA Championship and the program's 22nd appearance overall. Last year was the Bulldogs' first time to host the First and Second Rounds since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1999. As a top 16 national seed for the second-straight year, MSU hopes to earn its way to the round of 16, a feat the program has accomplished 10 times in its impressive history, but has not done so since 2001.
Selections for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be released Wednesday. Several Bulldogs hope to earn bids to the individual draws, including freshman Romain Bogaerts (No. 10 nationally) and junior Malte Stropp (No. 59 nationally). The 12th-ranked doubles squad of Jordan Angus and Stropp is expected to receive a bid as well.
For more information on Mississippi State men’s tennis, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstatemt) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstatemt). Full information on the Starkville tournament can be found at www.HailState.com/NCAAtennis.
2013 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship First and Second Rounds
May 10-11, 2013 - A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre - Starkville, Miss.
5/10/13 - First Round
Match 1 (10 a.m. CT) – Harvard vs. Samford
Match 2 (not before 1 p.m. CT) – Mississippi State vs. Austin Peay
5/11/13 - Second Round
Match 3 (1 p.m.) - Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner
Schedule subject to change