UNCG visits Georgia on Saturday in the NCAA Men's Tennis Tourney
ATHENS, Ga. - UNC Greensboro will make its NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament debut on Saturday when it faces No. 11-seeded Georgia in an opening round match at 4 p.m. LiveStats and live video will be available.
UNCG (17-5) won its first conference title in men's tennis since 1995 and earned its first automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by defeating Elon, 4-3, in the title match on April 24. It will be the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in men's tennis on any level (Division I, II or III). The Spartans last won a conference tournament title in 1995 when it defeated Charleston Southern for the Big South Tournament crown. NCAA automatic bids were not attached to conference championships at that time.
UNCG also won five conference titles in the 1970s and 1980s as a member of the Dixie Conference.
The 64 teams in the field will play a single-elimination tournament at 16 first- and second-round sites (four teams at each site) and the finals site (16-team bracket) to determine the national champion. The matches shall be regulation dual matches with three (3) eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six (6) singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight games all in doubles and at six games all in singles.
Boise State (19-11) and Florida State (14-9) will face off in the other first round pairing to be played in Athens beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday's winners will play Sunday at 2 p.m. for the right to advance to the round of 16 beginning May 21.
It will be the first-ever meeting between UNCG and Georgia in dual-match play. The Spartans were in Athens earlier this season for a fall tournament, playing in the weather-plagued Southern Invitational. UNCG only completed one day of play in that tournament and the teams did not face each other.
The Bulldogs are 17-7 on the year, but have lost their three matches including a surprising early exit in the SEC Tournament, falling to Tennessee, 6-1. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 12 in this past week's ITA team rankings. Javier Garrapiz is ranked No. 22 in ITA's Top 125 singles rankings, while Nate Schnugg is ranked No. 75 and Drake Bernstein is ranked No. 115.
Garrapiz and Schnugg are ranked No. 32 in doubles play this week according to the ITA, which Schnugg and another doubles partner, Jamie Hunt, are ranked No. 44.
Georgia, which advanced to the Elite Eight last season and won consecutive national titles in 2007 and 2008, may not have to leave home in a quest for a seventh national title. After hosting the first two rounds, the Bulldogs are the host of the final four rounds of matches, consisting of 16 teams, the following week.
The Spartans have turned things around in the last two seasons under coach Thomas Mozur. UNCG has won 32 matches the last two seasons after winning just 23 matches in the previous six seasons - four of those under Mozur. The team's 17-5 record is its best since 2001-02 when it went 18-5, winning the SoCon regular season title before falling in the tournament semifinals. Just two seasons ago, the team finished with a 3-20 record.
At No. 1 singles, Orcun Seyrek has been a big part of the turnaround. The sophomore from Istanbul, Turkey, has gone 53-10 over his two seasons at UNCG, including a 39-5 mark in dual match play. This season, Seyrek has set a school record with 28 wins on the year, compiling a 28-5 mark. Seyrek, who appeared in the national rankings briefly last season on his way to SoCon Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors, has won 19 of his last 20 singles matches this spring.
But UNCG has also gotten strong play Timion Meijs at the bottom of the lineup this season and Yaroslav Litus and Arsel Kumdereli in the middle of the order. Meijs, a freshman from The Netherlands who typically plays No. 5 singles, is 24-9 this year, including a 16-5 dual match mark. Three of Meijs' last four losses came in three-setters.
Kumdereli, a senior from Mersin, Turkey, is 19-11 on the year, including a 14-7 mark this spring as the No. 2 singles player. Spending most of the season at No. 4 singles, Litus, a sophomore from Orel, Russia, is 18-12 on the season, including 11-8 this spring.
Tickets for the NCAA Tournament matches in Athens will be available for purchase starting May 5. Fans can order tickets in advance online or by calling 1-877-542-1231. Tickets will also go on sale one hour before the first match each day at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. General admission tickets are $5 for Adults and $3 for Students (college-aged with ID and younger).