May 19, 2006
Illinois and Ohio State are set to represent the Big Ten Conference in the Round of 16 in NCAA Men's Tennis play this weekend, May 20-21, at Stanford University's Taube Family Tennis Center in Paolo Alto, Calif.
Sixth-ranked Ohio State will face 11th-ranked North Carolina in the 2006 NCAA Men's Tennis Team Championships on Saturday (May 20) at 9 a.m. after a 4-0 defeat of No. 23 Arkansas on Sunday.
Winners of both the Big Ten Tournament and regular season titles, the Buckeyes tied a school record for wins with a 27-1 campain this season. The Tar Heels, who are playing in their first NCAA Sweet 16 since 1993, are 25-4 after claiming their first regional championship since 1994. The winner will earn a quarterfinal match against the victor of the Texas-Mississippi contest at 10 a.m. on Sunday (May 21).
The No. 8 Illini advanced to the Round of 16 for the eighth time in the last nine years, with a 4-0 second round victory over Louisville. It marked the second straight year the Illini upended the Cardinals to advance in the national tournament. The Illini, who
hold a 14-2 record in the past three years of NCAA Championships competition, will take on 10th-ranked UCLA on Saturday at noon. Should Illinois defeat the Bruins, the Illini will face the winner of Florida and Pepperdine on May 21 at 1 p.m.
In addition to Illinois and Ohio State earning trips to Paolo Alto, a total of 10 Big Ten student-athletes were selected as singles and doubles participants, while three were tabbed as alternates. The conference's lone automatic singles qualifier, No. 11-seed Ryler DeHeart of Illinois, joined teammate Kevin Anderson, Big Ten Freshman of the Year Bryan Koniecko of Ohio State and Michigan's Matko Maravic, who were all awarded at-large bids. Minnesota's D.J. Geatz was selected as the first alternate for singles competition.
In doubles, Ohio State's Scott Green and Ross Wilson claimed the top seed. They are joined by fourth-seeded Illinois' Anderson and Ryan Rowe, who were also tabbed automatic qualifiers from the Midwest Region. Also earning bids were Illinois' DeHeart and Pramod Dabir and Michigan's Brian Hung and Matko Maravic. Northwestern's Adam Schaechterle and Matt Christian will serve as the third alternate pair.
The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 24-29 at the Taube Family Tennis Center in Paolo Alto, following the conclusion of the team championship (May 19-23).