GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Florida men's and women's tennis teams both were chosen as one of 16 hosts of their respective NCAA First and Second Round Championship matches, the NCAA Committee announced on Tuesday afternoon from Indianapolis.
The event will run from May 11 to 13 at UF's Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.
The Gator women will host two first round matches on Friday, May 11 and a second round contest on Saturday, May 12, while the men will play their first round matches on Saturday and the second round on the Sunday, May 13. The winning team from each of the regionals advances to Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Round of 16 and beyond.
This season the University of Georgia plays host to the combined men's and women's tournament from the round of 16 through the final. The women's Round of 16 begins on Thursday, May 17, while men's action gets underway on Friday, May 18.
The Gator women, ranked No. 2 in the country with a 21-1 overall record, received the No. 2 seed in the 64-team draw. Florida faces Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion South Carolina State (16-0) for the third consecutive year in its NCAA First Round contest on Friday, May 11 at 2 p.m. ET. The other NCAA Women's First Round match played in Gainesville features 35th-ranked Florida State (13-10) versus 31st-ranked Washington State (18-5) on Friday at 11 a.m. The winning teams from those first-round matches meet in the second round on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m.
UF has hosted first and second round matches every year since the NCAA Women's Championships expanded its field to 64 teams in 1999.
The Florida women's team is making its 30th appearance in the 31-year history of the NCAA Championships, missing only the 1986 event. The Gators won NCAA team titles in 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2011 and have advanced to at least the NCAA Semifinals 20 times in the last 24 years.
"We're really excited to host the opening rounds once again," said UF women's head coach Roland Thornqvist, who has guide the Gators to their last two national championships. "We play much better at home than anywhere else, but it also gives us one more weekend when our senior Joanna Mather can play in front of our fans. We're going to try and hit our stride on May 11 in the first round. It's been three weeks since we will have played and we're excited and ready to play someone else besides ourselves. South Carolina State has become a familiar NCAA opponent for us and they are a team coming off winning their third straight conference title. Washington State has faced stiff competition all season playing in the Pac-12 and Florida State is a team we're familiar with having played them earlier this year."
It will be the fourth-ever meeting between Florida and the South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs, which met in the first round of the 2006, 2010 and 2011 NCAA Championships with the Gators taking the 4-0 victory in Gainesville in all three outings. The Gators are 52-1 all-time against Florida State, with the last meeting a 7-0 UF win on February 29 in Gainesville. Florida also is 2-0 in NCAA action against the Seminoles, downing its instate foe 4-2 in the 2009 NCAA Round of 32 and 5-0 in the 2000 NCAA Round of 32. Florida and Washington State have never met.
The Florida women's team is one of nine SEC schools in the 2012 field, with Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss also being chosen to play host to a regional as the No. 6, No. 8 and No. 16 seeds, respectively. Of the other 15 seeds, the Gators faced six of them during the regular season, when they played 16 of their 22 matches against other teams that made the NCAA Tournament field of 64 and posted a 15-1 record versus those clubs.
The Gator men, ranked No. 11 with a 14-9 overall record, will host the first two rounds on May 12-13, holding the top seed in the Gainesville regional. Florida will play Navy (18-8) in the opening round with the winner of the match to face the winner of 23rd-ranked Harvard (22-2) and Virginia Tech (11-11).
Florida faces Navy in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the last five years on the men's side, defeating the Mids 5-0 in Gainesville in 2008. Navy claimed the Patriot League title and qualified for the tournament for the fifth time in the last six years. Florida holds a 7-0 mark all-time against the Mids. Harvard claimed the Ivy League's automatic bid and holds a 3-3 all-time record against UF, while Virginia Tech earned an at-large bid and has never faced the Gators.
The Gators are one of five SEC teams to host a regional on the men's side, joined by second-seed Georgia, sixth-seed Kentucky ninth-seed Mississippi St. and 13th-seed Ole Miss. Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt also made the field of 64.
The announcement of the participants for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be held on Wednesday, May 2, with the names of the individuals posted to the NCAA web site no later than 6 p.m. ET.
Tickets may be purchased in advance or on each day of the tournament. An ALL-SESSION Pass is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. SINGLE DAY tickets for Friday and Saturday are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for senior citizens, college students and children under 17. SINGLE DAY tickets for Sunday are $3.00 for everyone. Spectators interested in purchasing advance ALL-SESSION Pass may do so by contacting:
Gator Ticket Office
Post Office Box 14485
Gainesville, FL 32604
352/375-4683, ext. 6800
Tickets also are available for purchase online at www.Gatorzone.com/tickets
Gates will open for fans one hour prior to the start of the first competition each day. Please note that seating is on a first come, first served basis. No saving of seats will be permitted. A Will Call window for the teams will also be located at the Ring Tennis Complex entrance.
The schedule of team play in Gainesville is as follows:
Friday, May 11 * Women's NCAA First Round
Florida State vs. Washington State
Florida vs. S.C. State
Saturday, May 12 * Men's NCAA First Round
Harvard vs. Virginia Tech
Florida vs. Navy
Saturday, May 12 * Women's NCAA Second Round
Friday's First Round winners
Sunday, May 13 * Men's NCAA Second Round
Saturday's First Round winners