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Men's Tennis Set to Host NCAA Championships

Men's Tennis Set to Host NCAA Championships
Bears battle No. 18 South Florida in NCAA Round of 16 Thursday.

WACO, Texas - The second-ranked and second-seeded Baylor men's tennis team will host NCAA Championship Round of 16 play for the first time in program history starting Thursday at the Hurd Tennis Center.

The Bears will face No. 18 South Florida at 7 p.m. to set up a possible matchup with the winner of No. 8 USC and No. 10 Duke in the quarterfinal round held Saturday at 4 p.m. 

Baylor is making its 16th, and 14th-straight, appearance at the NCAA final site, after blanking Bryant and No. 29 LSU in first and second round play. BU?is 11-4 in 15 previous trips to the Round of 16.

The Bears enter NCAA final site action with a 23-5 record, a 14-3 mark at home and a 19-5 mark against ranked foes.

Tickets for the NCAA Championships are available at BaylorBears.com or on the day of the match at the Baylor Baseball ticket office. Tickets are only $5 per day or an all-session pass can be purchased for $75.

Championship Quick Hits

BAYLOR IN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY: Baylor has amassed an impressive 50-16 (.758) all-time NCAA Championship record. The Bears have been selected to compete in postseason play for 18 straight seasons and have hosted the first two rounds of action 12 times. BU has reached the round of 16 16 times, including 14 straight trips. The program won Baylor's first-ever NCAA?Team Championship in 2004 and returned to the title match in 2005, along with semifinal trips in 2006 and 2007.

HOW?THEY?GOT?HERE: With the first and second round home shutouts over Bryant Friday and No. 29 LSU?Saturday, the Bears improved to 14-3 at home in the 2015 dual-match season and 24-0 at home in NCAA Championship play. The win over the Bulldogs came inside the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center due to inclement weather, but the change of venue didn't slow down the Bears as they surrendered only four games to Bryant in the matches that they won. Against LSU, BU?won a tightly contested doubles point and got straight-set singles wins on courts four, five and six to complete a clean sweep of first and second action for the seventh-time in program history.

WHEN PLAYING?AS THE NO. 2 SEED: Entering its 2015 run, Baylor earned its highest seed since being No. 1 in the 2005 NCAA?Championship. The Bears have been a No. 2 seed once before as they went 3-1 in 2003.

WHEN HOSTING?THE?FIRST?TWO?ROUNDS: Baylor is a perfect 24-0 at home in NCAA Championship play. BU has recorded 17 shutouts when hosting the opening rounds and has surrendered only 12 points in those 24 matches.

LAST YEAR IN THE?NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Baylor received an automatic bid for the 2014 NCAA Championship and hosted first and second round action. The Bears defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi, in the first round, before securing a 4-1 victory over No. 43 Tulsa in the second round. The Bears then traveled to Athens, Ga., to compete in the Round of 16 where they met up with 12th-ranked Illinois. The Bears swept the Illini, 4-0, to advance to the NCAA?quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. In the quarterfinals, the Bears were shutout by No. 4 Virginia, 4-0.

Team Notes

SINGLES STREAKS & TRENDS: Senior Mate Zsiga has won 11 of his last 12 decisions. He has played predominantly in the five spot this season and has recorded a 13-3 record in dual-match play. Felipe Rios has also been a strong force for the Bears at the bottom of the lineup, winning nine of his last 10 matches to boast a 19-3 dual-match mark, which leads Baylor.  Diego Galeano has won his last five decisions, after starting the dual-match season only 7-4.

BEARS DOMINATING THE DOUBLES POINT:  BU?is enjoying perhaps its most successful doubles season in school history. The Bears are 25-2 in the opening point in 2015, having gone on to win 22 of those matches. Baylor did not play doubles at Memphis due to the threat of inclement weather, but has won the doubles point in every other match, except on March 22 and April 26 against Oklahoma. BU's success comes from a strong third position as that spot has gone 23-3 in doubles matches. The No. 1 tandem for the Bears, Diego Galeano and Julian Lenz, has also been impressive, racking up a 20-2 record with a 17-match win streak that was snapped against LSU. 

TEAM STREAKS & TRENDS: Baylor enters the NCAA?Championship Round of 16 having won nine of its last 11 matches. The Bears recorded a season high eight-match win streak that stretched from Feb. 20-March 21. BU?lost its season-opener against then-No. 11 Illinois and has since only lost to current No. 1 Oklahoma.

LOOKING AHEAD: A victory against South Florida would advance the Bears into the quarterfinals of the NCAA?Championship for the second-straight year and the 12th-time in program history. BU would face the winner of No. 8 USC?and No. 10 Duke at 4 p.m. Saturday.

RANKED BEARS: Baylor currently has four singles competitors ranked in the latest ITA?rankings including No. 2 Julian Lenz, No. 35 Tony Lupieri, 58th-ranked Max Tchoutakian and 116th-ranked Mate Zsiga. BU?has three ranked doubles tandems with Diego Galeano and Lenz at No. 8, Lupieri and Felipe Rios at No. 60 and Lupieri teaming with Zsiga to be No. 79.

SCOUTING?SOUTH?FLORIDA: The Bulls (21-6) head to Waco on a seven-match win streak. USF?will be playing in its program's first Round of 16 match and is currently ranked No. 18 in the country. The Bulls captured their second consecutive American Athletic Conference crown by downing Temple and Memphis, and handing host Tulsa a 4-0 loss in the championship match on April 19. Tournament success continued in Blacksburg, Va., where the Bulls shut out Boise State and upset No. 15 seed Virginia Tech in the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship.

Baylor and USF?will be meeting for the fourth time Thursday. BU has won the previous three meetings, including a 4-0 victory over the Bulls on April 2, 2014 in Waco.  The first meeting between the two schools came on March 29, 2003, when a third-ranked BU squad shutout No. 43 USF, 7-0, in Waco. Two years later, an unranked USF?squad returned to Waco and gave then-No. 1 Baylor all it could handle in a 4-3 victory for the Bears on April 9.

Quote from the Coach
“They are an up and coming team. They are exactly what you would expect. They went up to Virginia Tech and showed a lot of enthusiasm and fight and rolled through that match. I think they are going to come up here and you are not going to see a more enthusiastic group. You get a lot of different dynamics at the final site. You get the teams that are here almost every year and then you get the teams that are here for the first time – their energy is going to be off the charts. We have to be able to match that energy.” – head coach Matt Knoll on facing South Florida

Live scoring, video and a blog will be available for each and every match of the NCAA Championships on BaylorBears.com.

Check out BaylorBears.com for schedule and ticket information. Stay up to date with men's tennis by following us on Twitter @BaylorMTennis.

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