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Red Raiders, Huskies Meet in NCAA First Round

Raony Carvalho

Raony Carvalho
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May 6, 2009

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LUBBOCK, Texas - After a two-week hiatus, Texas Tech begins the final part of its season with the first round of the NCAA Championships against Washington at 10 a.m., Fri., May 8, at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin, Texas.

The Red Raiders drew the No. 3 seed in the four-team regional as Big 12 foe, Texas, and Sacred Heart will follow the day's opening match at 1 p.m. The winners of the two matches will face each other at 1 p.m., Saturday for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16, which will be held May 14-25, in College Station, Texas.

TECH IN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tech is in the NCAA Championships for the fourth time in the last five years, while also making its eighth overall trip. All eight appearances have come under head coach Tim Siegel, who began his 16-year tenure at Tech in 1992.

The Red Raiders have one Sweet 16 berth in school history as the 2005 squad defeated both Army and Wake Forest at the McLeod Tennis Center to advance to the quarterfinal round where Tech fell, 4-2, to Mississippi. The Sweet 16 match was held at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, ironically the same site of this year's closing rounds.

Tech is 4-7 all-time in the NCAA Championships, but has advanced past the first round in each of its previous three trips.

SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
The opening round match between Washington and Tech will be the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools with the Huskies holding a 3-1 career advantage. Washington finished the regular season 14-8 overall and 3-3 in the Pacific-10 Conference, sharing third place in the league standings with Stanford. The Huskies defeated Tech, 4-1, in the teams' last meeting at the Great Northwest Shootout in 2007.

Making its 15th-consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships, the Huskies boast one of the stronger lineups in the nation with two ranked singles players and doubles pairs. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan leads Washington in singles as the sophomore went 16-3 in duals, earning a No. 43 ranking by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) following the regular season. The Huskies' other ranked singles player, Patrik Fischer, finished the regular season ranked No. 112 after posting a 13-8 duals record.

In doubles, Derek Drabble and Martin Kildehl combine for the nation's 35th-ranked duo as the tandem went 8-2 during the regular season, while splitting time between the top two positions. Nedunchezhiyan and Fischer are UW's other ranked duo at No. 87 after going 5-2 in duals this spring.

Washington is under the direction of longtime head coach Matt Anger, who enters his 15th season with the Huskies as the winningest coach in school history.

SCOUTING THE LONGHORNS
Following a 19-6 regular season and second place finish at the Big 12 Championships, Texas returns to the NCAA Championships looking to mount another tournament run after falling in the title match to Georgia last year.

The Longhorns topped the Red Raiders, 4-3, earlier this season in Austin, but Tech played the match without two of its seniors, Michael Breler and Christian Rojmar, in the singles lineup.

Texas finished the regular season with a No. 12 ranking by the ITA, earning the right to host a regional for the fourth-consecutive year. The Longhorns sport three players ranked in their singles lineup, led by the nation's 19th-ranked player in Dimitar Kutrovsky, who is 14-8 in duals this spring. Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico complete the top of UT's lineup as the two are a combined 33-15 at the No. 2 and 3 positions. Kutrovsky was the only UT player to earn a bid into either the singles or doubles draw at the NCAA Championships.

The Longhorns also boast two ranked doubles duos as Damico and Corrie boast a No. 27 national ranking and 10-8 duals record, while the tandem of Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala are ranked No. 60 after an impressive 17-6 record in the second position.

In the regular-season match, Texas raced out to an early lead after earning the doubles point with wins at the top two positions. Without the core of its regular lineup, UT was able to earn three quick singles wins at the No. 4, 5 and 6 slots to decide the match. Tech was able to control the top positions, however, as the Red Raiders earned wins at each of the top three slots.

Texas is coached by Michael Center, who is in ninth season with the Longhorns.

SCOUTING THE PIONEERS
The winner of the Northeast Conference, Sacred Heart is making its first trip to the NCAA Championships in school history after posting a 14-8 regular season record.

Despite being the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, the Pioneers orchestrated an impressive run through the bracket, dropping only two points in the final two matches for its first conference title in school history.

Sacred Heart is led in singles by Kirill Kasyanov, who earned All-Northeast Conference honors after going 16-6 in duals this spring from the top slot. The Pioneers have struggled in doubles, however, having used 24 different duo combinations and going 11-11 for the opening point.

Sacred Heart is led by third-year head coach Paul Gagliardi, who earned NEC Coach of the Year honors this season

ROJMAR, CARVALHO EARN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS BIDS
A day after hearing they would travel to Austin for the opening rounds of the NCAA Championships, freshman Raony Carvalho and senior Christian Rojmar discovered they would both be traveling to College Station, Texas, for the singles and doubles portions of the championships.

Carvalho, the nation's 41st-ranked player in singles, was one of 48 players selected to the singles draw, while he and Rojmar will be one of 32 doubles duos competing.

The singles and doubles portions of the NCAA Championships will be held May 20-25, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.

CARVALHO NAMED BIG 12 FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
After an impressive start to his Red Raider career, Raony Carvalho was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year this week after going 13-9 in singles at mostly the top position and 13-8 with teammate Christian Rojmar at No. 1 doubles.

Carvalho was also selected to the All-Big 12 singles and doubles teams. Rojmar's selection on the doubles team was his third-consecutive honor over his four-year career. Carvalho is the first Red Raider to win the conference Freshman of the Year accolade.

ESCOBAR ENDS SEASON WELL
With the strong play of fellow freshman Raony Carvalho, one name maybe looked over on the Tech lineup is Gonzalo Escobar. The Ecuador native rounded out his first season on campus winning eight of his final 11 singles matches, while he and teammate David Gonzalez went 15-5 overall at the bottom doubles position. Escobar's record might have been better had he not missed two conference matches earlier in the season due to a wrist injury.

MARKOVIC STEADY AT NO. 2 SLOT
In his final season, senior Sinisa Markovic has been Tech's most consistent player in both singles and doubles. The Bosnia native posted a team-best 16-6 record in duals from primarily the No. 2 position, while he and teammate Michael Breler went 15-6 in doubles, including a Big 12-best 5-1 conference record.

WILSON LEADS ON, OFF COURTS
Despite playing in only two matches this spring, senior James Wilson can easily be described as the heart and soul of the squad. The team's co-captain the previous two seasons, Wilson is 1-1 in singles this spring. Maybe more important, however, has been his leadership as he is often one of the other voices heard besides head coach Tim Siegel or assistant coach Marcelo Ferreira.

 

 

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