Wingate teams open NCAA Division II play-offs at two different sites Sunday
Indianapolis, Ind.----The Wingate University tennis teams know their first-round opponents in their respective NCAA Division II Southeast Region tournaments. The number 29 Wingate women play Francis Marion Sunday in Columbus, Ga. The Bulldog men play Mount Olive Sunday in Savannah, Ga. Both Wingate teams won the 2012 South Atlantic Conference regular season and tournament titles.
“I am very excited about this opportunity for both teams,” Wingate head men’s and women’s tennis coach Michael Cabana says. “I feel both teams are playing well…and are ready for these match-ups.”
The Wingate women (18-4 overall) won their second consecutive Food Lion SAC tournament Saturday, topping Anderson (S.C.) 5-1 at the Rock Hill Tennis Center in Rock Hill, S.C. Bulldog sophomore Morgan Winston (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was voted the tournament MVP.
The Bulldogs have qualified for the NCAA tournament 10 times. Wingate advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1996, defeating St. Andrews (4-2) and Elon University (4-1) to take their first (and only) trip to the championship site. The University of North Florida ended Wingate’s 1996 run with a 4-0 victory in Edmond, Okla.
The Wingate women earned at-large bids to the NCAA Division II tournament in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Wingate’s back-to-back SAC tournament titles gave them automatic qualifications in 2011 and 2012.
Number 10 Francis Marion (17-3 overall) makes its 11th NCAA appearance in 2012. The Peach Belt Conference member Patriots earned a home court victory over the Bulldogs on Tuesday, March 20.
The Bulldog men (18-6 overall) won the Food Lion SAC tournament for the first time in school history Saturday, thanks to a 5-1 triumph over Lincoln Memorial at the Rock Hill Tennis Center. Wingate senior Drew Owen (Kitchener, Ontario) received tournament MVP laurels.
Wingate makes its fourth appearance in the NCAA tournament this year. The three Bulldog seniors (Owen, Matt Lichtenstein and Flavio Rathsam) collect book-end NCAA trips, as they helped Wingate qualify as freshmen in 2009. The Bulldogs also punched their ticket to the NCAA dance in 2000 and 2002.
Mount Olive (18-6 overall) is making its first-ever NCAA appearance after winning the Conference Carolinas tournament championship for the first time in school history. The MOC Trojans outlasted Limestone 5-4 in the championship match Saturday. Wingate defeated Limestone 5-4 during the regular season (Feb. 11, 2012). The Bulldogs and the Trojans have several common 2012 opponents.