WACO, Texas - The 35th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team will open the 2016 NCAA Team Championships with a first-round match against No. 22 Florida State Saturday at 9 a.m. CT at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
“It’s going to be a tough match,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “They’ve had a heck of a season. They’re going to match up with us pretty well up and down. Everybody’s going to have to be ready to play, and I know the guys are really looking forward to it.”
The winner of the Bears and Seminoles match will then face the victor of the seventh-seeded and seventh-ranked Georgia-South Carolina State match on Sunday at noon CT.
For just the seventh time in their 19 appearances, the third time in the last 14 years and the first time since 2012, the Bears will not host the opening two rounds of championship play in Waco.
BU is currently 15-13 on the season, coming off a 4-3 loss to No. 8 Texas Tech in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship on April 30.
Live scoring and video will be available at GeorgiaDogs.com throughout the weekend.
Championship Quick Hits
BAYLOR IN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY: Baylor has amassed an impressive 52-17 (.754) all-time NCAA Championship record. The Bears have been selected to compete in postseason play for 19 straight seasons including this year. BU has reached the round of 16 16 times, including 14 straight trips.
LAST YEAR IN THE?NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Baylor received the No. 2 overall seed for the 2015 NCAA Championships and hosted first and second round action. The Bears defeated Bryant, in the first round, before securing a 4-0 victory over No. 29 LSU in the second round. The Bears then served as the final site host for the first time in program history, where they met up with 18th-ranked South Florida in the Round of 16. Baylor defeated the Bulls, 4-1, to advance to the NCAA?quarterfinals for the second time since 2011. In the quarterfinals, the Bears downed defending national champion USC, 4-2, to advance to the program’s fifth NCAA semifinals appearance. BU dropped a 4-2 decision to eventual national champion Virginia, 4-2, to end its tournament run.
SINGLES STREAKS & TRENDS: Senior Julian Lenz currently leads the team with an eight-match win streak, and he has not lost since March 20. Lenz has played predominantly in the one spot this season and has recorded a 19-3 record in dual-match play. Junior Max Tchoutakian has also been a strong force for the Bears at the No. 2 spot, boasting a 14-7 dual-match mark, including three wins over ranked opponents.
TEAM STREAKS & TRENDS: Baylor enters the NCAA Championships looking for its second win in the last three matches over a top 20 opponent. Baylor is 16-10 in doubles points this season and then 11-5 in matches when winning the doubles point and 2-8 when dropping the opening point.
LOOKING AHEAD: A victory against Florida State would advance the Bears into the second round of the NCAA?Championship for the 15th-straight year, facing the winner of No. 7 and host Georgia and South Carolina State at noon CT on Sunday.
RANKED BEARS: Baylor currently has two singles competitors ranked in the latest ITA?rankings including No. 12 Julian Lenz and No. 94 Max Tchoutakian. BU?has two ranked doubles tandems with Lenz and redshirt freshman Will Little at No. 26, followed by Tchoutakian and freshman Tommy Podvinski at No. 86.
LAST?MATCH?OUT: Baylor came up just short to No. 8 Texas Tech in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship. The Bears took the doubles point for the third-straight time over the Red Raiders but then dropped the first three singles contests to fall down 3-1. BU?used victories from Julian Lenz and Felipe Rios to tie the score, 3-3. In the last match, Max Tchoutakian dropped a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision to No. 110 Hugo Dojas at the No. 2 spot to give TTU the deciding point.
Scouting the Opposition
SCOUTING?FLORIDA STATE: Florida State, ranked No. 22, will be making its 14th-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance. On the year, the Seminoles are 18-8 and lost 4-3 to No. 36 Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The Seminoles have two ranked singles players in No. 11 Benjamin Lock and No. 76 Marco Nunez. Those two players partner together to be the 17th-ranked doubles tandem in the country.
• BU is 2-1 all-time against Florida State, including a 2-0 mark under Knoll with wins in 2006 and 2012.
Quotes from the Coach
“We travel a lot, so I think it’s going to be great. There are less distractions (on the road). I think it will bring the team together. You can really focus on your tennis, so I think we’ll focus. I think we’re going to play really well.” – head coach Matt Knoll on his team heading to Athens
“No question we are playing our best tennis. I think we’ve gotten better and better as the year’s rolled on. I thought we played two really tough matches in Stillwater, and I think we’ll play some tough matches down in Athens. We’ve got to continue to be better. I’m really excited.” - Knoll on his team’s improvement