Women's Tennis preview: NCAA Regional Championships
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 18th-ranked University of Texas women's tennis squad (17-11) heads to Fort Worth this weekend for the NCAA tennis regional championships at TCU's Friedman Tennis Center. Texas opens the 64-team tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. CDT against 44th-ranked Arkansas (10-10). Live scoring will be available at gofrogs.com. Host TCU (21-6) will take on Rice (13-12) in the second first-round match at 6 p.m. CDT. Should the Longhorns escape the Lady 'Backs, Texas would advance to Saturday's NCAA round-of-32 match set for Saturday at 6 p.m. CDT in Fort Worth.
Texas, the Big 12 Conference runner-up, will make its 24th appearance at the NCAA Tennis Championships. A two-time NCAA champion, UT holds a 34-21 overall record in the event. The Longhorns captured NCAA team championships in 1993 and 1995 under coach Jeff Moore, who retired last summer after 23 seasons on the job.
Texas will make its first NCAA tournament appearance under coach Patty Fendick-McCain. The 2004 ITA National Coach of the Year, Fendick-McCain led the University of Washington women's tennis team to NCAA quarterfinal finishes in 2001 and 2004, as well as three NCAA round-of-16 appearances.
Arkansas, under third-year coach Michael Hegarty, finished second in the Southeastern Conference's Western division with a 5-6 league record. UA features 25th-ranked Aurelija Miseviciute and 120th-ranked Ela Kaluder. The Lady 'Backs suffered a 4-2 loss in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on April 20.
TCU earned the tournament's No. 16 seed after winning the Mountain West Conference Championship. The Horned Frogs feature 15th-ranked sophomore Nicole Leimbach, one of the nation's top freshmen a year ago while playing at Southern California. She is joined by 28th-ranked Helena Besovic and 115th-ranked Anna Sydorska. Rice, who upset SMU to capture the Conference USA Championship, features 78th-ranked senior Blair DiSesa.
Texas hosted a NCAA tennis regional last season at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center and defeated Southern by a 4-0 count in the opening round before dispatching Texas A&M by a 4-1 margin in the round of 32.
In the round of 16 at the NCAA Tennis Championships in Athens, Ga., Texas rallied for a 4-3 win over sixth-seeded Georgia Tech. The Longhorns' tourney run continued with a 4-2 NCAA quarterfinal win over third-seeded Kentucky. Texas reached the NCAA title match by outlasting second-seeded Florida, 4-3, in the semifinals. Stanford topped Texas in the final, 4-0.