After one of the most successful seasons in program history, Mississippi State’s women’s tennis team learned Tuesday afternoon that it has earned a bid to the 2015 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship. The Bulldogs are headed to Berkeley, Calif., and will face Houston in the first round on Friday, May 8, at Cal’s Hellman Tennis Complex
On May 8, the first match will pit 34th-ranked MSU (15-11) against 29th-ranked Houston (22-5) at 10 a.m. PT (12 p.m. CT). Following the Bulldogs and Cougars, the No. 3-ranked (and No. 3 national seed) host Cal Bears (20-3) will battle Bryant University (8-8) at 1 p.m. PT (3 p.m. CT) in the other first round contest in Berkeley. The winners of the two Friday affairs will then face each other in the second round matchup on Saturday, May 9, at 12 p.m. PT (2 p.m. CT) for the right to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Waco, Texas, on May 15.
“One of our goals was to make the tournament this year,” said MSU coach Daryl Greenan. “The girls worked and competed hard all year and they have earned this honor. We are ranked 50 spots higher than this time last year, so it is very exciting to see the progress that we have made.”
Tuesday’s selection marks MSU women’s tennis’ fifth appearance in the NCAA Championship in program history, the first since 2005. State also made trips to the NCAAs in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005, advancing to the second round the first three of those seasons.
MSU has collected 15 wins this season to date, the most since 1987. State has earned four wins against top 50 opponents, including a thrilling 4-3 upset against then-No. 6 Alabama on March 15. The Bulldogs’ four SEC wins this year were the most since 2005 and State also advanced to the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship for the first time since that same season. MSU began 2015 by winning nine of its first 10 matches, including six shutout victories. Greenan’s squad put together an impressive home court advantage this spring, going 11-2 at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
State’s first-round foe, Houston, won a school record 18 straight matches from Feb. 20 – April 17 of this year. The Cougars, who reached the American Conference Championship finals, also set a program high by defeating 11 nationally ranked opponents in 2015. Senior Elena Kordolaimi leads the Cougars with 32 singles victories, including 24 dual wins, which matches a program record. She is ranked 106th nationally. Sophomore Despoina Vogasari is Houston’s highest-ranked singles performer, at No. 81 and has won a career-high 29 singles matches this season.
Cal, hosting the NCAA 1st/2nd Rounds for the 10th straight season, finished second in the Pac-12 this season with a 9-1 league record. The Bears, who defeated 14 ranked foes this season (eight in the top 25), also reached the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February. Cal’s first-round foe, the Bryant University Bulldogs, won the Northeast Conference tournament to earn their way into the 2015 NCAA field, winning three straight matches as the NEC No. 2 seed to claim its league crown.
Selections for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be released Wednesday. MSU’s 24th-ranked sophomore standout Jasmine Lee will likely earn her first career NCAA singles bid, after posting a 16-6 mark in singles play this season, playing mostly at the No. 1 position in her first season on the collegiate level.
For more information on Mississippi State women’s tennis and updates, fans can follow the Bulldogs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at HailStateWT.
2015 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship – First & Second Rounds
May 8-9, 2015 – Hellman Tennis Complex – Berkeley, Calif.
5/8/15 – First Round
Match 1 – 10 a.m. PT (12 p.m. CT) – No. 34 Mississippi State vs. No. 29 Houston
Match 2 – 1 p.m. PT (3 p.m. CT) – No. 3 Cal vs. Bryant
5/9/14 – Second Round
Match 3 – 12 p.m. PT (2 p.m. CT) – Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner**
**-winner advances to NCAA Round of 16 in Waco, Texas, on May 15
Schedule subject to change
(From MSU Media Relations)