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For the first time in four years, the No. 32 ranked University of Kentucky women’s tennis team received an at-large bid to compete in the 2014 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship and will face No. 40 Columbia University in the first round of the tournament on Friday, May 9, it was announced during the NCAA Selection Show on Tuesday.
“Our whole team is very excited to experience playing in the NCAA tournament again,” Kentucky head coach Carlos Drada said. “We’ve come a long way and feel fully prepared for a memorable weekend. Our players understand the great opportunities that lie ahead and they are preparing to give their best effort in practices and during our first round match against Columbia.”
Kentucky (16-11, 6-9 SEC) is a No. 2 seed and will compete in the Charlottesville regional, hosted by the University of Virginia for its 21st NCAA appearance in school history. The Wildcats fell in the second round of the tournament to Northwestern in their last outing NCAA outing in 2009. The team’s best finish was in 2005 when they reached the quarterfinals, but fell 4-2 to Texas.
The Wildcats’ berth into the NCAA Championships follows the best season the team has had since 2008. Kentucky won 16 matches including six wins over ranked opponents and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Wildcats boast two ranked doubles teams in seniors CeCe Witten and Caitlin McGraw, who are ranked 40th in the nation, and No. 54 Nadia Ravita and Aldila Sutjiadi. Ravita is also ranked 47th in singles.
Columbia went 16-4 overall this season and 5-2 in Ivy League play and earned their first trip to the NCAA Championships in school history. The Lions are lead by Tina Jiang, who is undefeated at the No. 2 and No. 3 singles positions and is on a 16 match win streak in doubles when paired with Crystal Leung.
If the Wildcats advance to the second round, they will face Virginia or Youngstown State University. Virginia (21-5, 12-2 ACC), the overall No. 3 seed, earned its first ACC championship title and is making its sixth consecutive appearance in the tournament. Youngstown State (14-11, 6-2 Horizon League) received a berth to the tournament after winning the Horizon League championship title.
Kentucky’s matchup will begin at 10 a.m. at the Snyder Tennis Center, followed by Virginia and Youngstown State. The winner of the regional will advance to the Sweet 16 in Athens, Ga., hosted by the University of Georgia.
(From UK Athletics)