Tallahassee, Fla.- It was a historic afternoon for the Florida State men’s and women’s tennis teams as the NCAA announced on ESPNews that both teams will host the first two rounds of the 2008 NCAA Tennis Tournament at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
“I think it is a big advantage to host and to be able to play on your home court,” FSU men’s tennis coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “To have the fans behind you and to be familiar with everything around you is important.”
“It’s a great accomplishment and we want to make sure that we take full advantage of having home court advantage,” FSU women’s tennis coach Jennifer Hyde said. “We’re going to take it one match at a time and hopefully put ourselves through to Tulsa.”
The FSU men are hosting a NCAA Regional for the second consecutive season. Last year the Seminoles (19-6, 10-3) lost in the second round to second-seeded Florida. The Garnet and Gold will play fourth-seeded Samford in the first-round. The Bulldogs (15-8, 10-1) won the Ohio Valley Conference championship to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The region’s No. 2 seed is Alabama who finished the season fifth in the Southeastern Conference with a 19-9 overall record, 7-5 in conference play. The Crimson Tide will play third-seeded South Alabama in the first round. The Jaguars (14-8, 6-2) earned an automatic bid for the tournament after winning the Sun Belt Conference title.
“We have some very good teams coming to Tallahassee,” Hultquist said. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but I feel good that we have the ability to play at home.”
The Seminole women are hosting the first and second rounds for the first time in program history. Last season, Florida State just missed out on hosting and had to travel to Los Angeles, Calif. to face No.1 seed UCLA in the tournament’s second round. This time around FSU will stay at home and draw fourth-seeded Samford (20-5, 12-0) who won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to earn themselves an automatic bid. The number two seed in the region is Texas. The Longhorns (18-6, 12-2) finished second in the Big 12 conference. They will play third-seeded South Florida as the Bulls (18-6, 6-3) earned an at-large bid after finishing fifth in the Big East.
Florida State hosted the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships in 1996, but the Seminoles were not in the event as a team.
“We’re very excited about the teams coming to Tallahassee,” Hyde said. “It’s important that we don’t look ahead, but to be hosting and playing at home is a huge advantage for us.”
The NCAA Tournament will begin Friday, May 9 with the women’s first round matches, while play begins for the men on Saturday, May 10. The winners of each region will advance to the tournament’s final site in Tulsa, Okla. For ticket information visit www.seminoles.com or call 64-GOFSU.