Kingsmen Return to NCAA Tournament
CLU selected as at-large team
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –The NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Committee released the field of 44 teams who will compete in the 2013 National Championships with sights on earning a national title and No. 5 Cal Lutheran was among those listed. Regional play will take place May 11-13 before the final rounds take place May 20-25 in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Thirty conferences were awarded an automatic qualification (AQ) for the championships and are considered Pool A. The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) automatic bid went to No. 1 and regional host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps as the 2013 league champions.
Pool B is made up of independent schools and schools that are members of conferences that do not meet the requirements for an AQ. This year seven schools were selected from Pool B. The final seven berths were reserved for Pool C, which are schools from AQ conferences that were not the conference champion and any remaining Pool B teams.
Cal Lutheran earned a Pool C bid for the second consecutive year and is joined by SCIAC foe No. 13 Redlands. With three league teams advancing, the level of competition that the Kingsmen face throughout the season is apparent. Last weekend at SCIAC Championships, Cal Lutheran fell to CMS to place second. Redlands fell to Pomona-Pitzer, but the combination of dual match points and championship points placed the Bulldogs third overall.
Emory is the defending national champion and the Eagles earned a Pool C bid in 2013. No. 1 CMS is followed by No. 2 Kenyon and No. 3 Amherst (Mass.).
This will be the 11th NCAA appearance by the Kingsmen since joining the NCAA in 1992. CLU returns a solid core of players who got a taste of Regional play a year ago. In 2012 after the team was eliminated, Nicholas Ballou went on to became a two-time All-American as the national runner-up in singles play and joined forces with Ray Worley to advance to the quarterfinals. Connor Treacy, Thomas Millet, Nick Jacobs and Marcelo Sousa all saw NCAA Regional action last spring as well.
Ballou enters the weekend as the No. 1 ranked player in the region. Worley is No. 11 and Nichols is No. 21. In doubles, Ballou and Worley are atop the rankings at No. 1 and the duo of Treacy and Nichols broke into the top-15 at No. 13 in the May 2 Poll.
Unlike 2012, Cal Lutheran (17-4) has earned a First Round bye at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center. The Bracket indicates that the Kingsmen will face UC Santa Cruz (11-5) in their first match of the tournament during the Second Round on Saturday, May 11 at 10:00 a.m. The Banana Slugs upset the Kingsmen, 5-4, in Santa Cruz on April 14 as the final dual match of the regular season. The winner will advance to the Third Round, set for Sunday, May 12 at noon.
The final team standing after Saturday will move on to play in the Quarterfinals at Stowe Stadium. Kalamazoo College will host the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals from May 20-22. Individual Championships will follow May 23-25 and the field for that competition will be released on May 8.