Wildcats Are Ann Arbor Bound for NCAA First & Second Rounds
LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the third straight season and the 23rd in program history, the Kentucky women’s tennis team has earned a bid to the NCAA Championship team tournament. The Wildcats (17-9) earned a No. 2 seed and will play No. 3 seed and Big East Conference champion Xavier on Friday, May 13 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“We are very excited to be in the postseason and we are eager to compete to the best of our ability in such a strong field,” commented head coach Carlos Dradá. “Our players have learned a lot during this season and are still eager to compete during the rest of the season.”
The overall No. 10 seed Michigan will play host to the first and second rounds, with Mid-American Conference champion and No. 4-seeded Ball State also making the trip to the Great Lakes State for a chance to move on to the quarterfinals in Tulsa, Okla. The winner of the 10 a.m. ET Kentucky/Xavier match will go on to play the winner of the Michigan/Ball State match on May 14, with the winner of that match advancing to the Sweet 16 in Tulsa on May 19-24.
Kentucky holds a 19-22 record all-time in the NCAA Championship, advancing to the quarterfinals in both 1988 and 2005. The last time that the Wildcats had earned three straight tournament berths was in the 2007-09 seasons, which marked the end of a school-record run of 13 consecutive NCAA Championship bids.
Though the teams are less than two hours away, Kentucky and Xavier have never squared off in the history of two programs. The Wildcats only recently opened up an all-time series with the current alignment of the Big East, facing DePaul in last year’s NCAA Championship first round. Kentucky will look to prevent a repeat of last season’s first round, where it also faced the Big East champion in Ann Arbor and fell to DePaul in a 4-0 setback.
The Musketeers downed DePaul to earn their bid to the NCAA Championship in a 4-2 decision on Sunday, making history as the first women’s team from Xavier to win a Big East title since joining the conference in 2013. Xavier went 20-5 overall on the year and 7-1 within league play, with the only loss coming by way of a 4-2 setback to DePaul on April 9.
Kentucky has played Ball State one time in school history, claiming a 4-2 win over the Cardinals on Jan. 18, 2014. Ball State posted an impressive 22-3 record leading up to the selection show and dropped just one MAC contest to Buffalo before sweeping the No. 3 seed Western Michigan 4-0 on Sunday to secure its first-ever MAC Tournament title.
Michigan, which earned an at-large bid, is the most familiar foe in the first and second rounds, as Kentucky has faced the Wolverines on 11 occasions with an 8-3 record in the all-time series. UK played Michigan in the second match of the season, falling in a hard-fought 4-3 decision in the championship game of the ITA Kickoff Regional on Jan. 24. The Wolverines went 20-6 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten regular season, falling to Northwestern before getting knocked out of the Big Ten Tournament by No. 5 Ohio State, 4-2.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky women’s tennis team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info, notes, and behind-the-scenes updates, follow the team on Twitter at @UKWomensTennis and on Facebook.