Baylor Men's Tennis Earns 20th Straight NCAA Championship Berth

Posted at 10:59 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-02 23:59:58-04

For the 12th time in the last 15 years, the sixth-ranked Baylor men's tennis team will host first and second round action of the NCAA Tennis Championship, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

Baylor, the event's overall No. 7 seed, will welcome Cornell, Rice and Lamar to Waco and the Hurd Tennis Center for play on Friday and Saturday, May 12-13.

"The postseason is what it is all about," head coach Matt Knoll said. "We have to survive and advance. We are lucky we have a couple weeks off. Our guys will take some finals and re-engage. I expect us to play our best tennis down the stretch."

The Bears will be making their 20th-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and be hosting for the 13th-time overall and the 12th time in the last 15 years.

"It is huge to host," Knoll said. "I am really thrilled for our guys, for the school and the community. To be able to have NCAA Tennis here on campus is great. Everyone is great at this time of the year. Everybody won their league or had a great season. We are playing Lamar to open and they are conference champions. They have had a lot of success and I am sure they are going to be confident. We are going to have to be ready to go."

The action in Waco gets underway on Friday, May 12, as the Bears will take on fourth-seeded Lamar (17-7) in first round action at 10 a.m., followed by second-seeded Cornell (21-3) and No. 3 seed Rice (23-7) meeting at 1 p.m. The winners of those two matches will then play on Saturday, May 13, at 4 p.m.

BU is currently 21-7 on the season and ranked No. 6 in the latest Oracle/ITA team rankings.

Sophomore Juan Benitez leads the Bears with a No. 14 ITA singles ranking. BU has two other ranked singles player in senior Max Tchoutakian at No. 44 and Johannes Schretter coming in at No. 59. Benitez also pairs up with Will Little to be No. 17 in the doubles ranking. Tchoutakian and Schretter are listed at No. 69, while Schretter and Jimmy Bendeck are the No. 86 ranked doubles tandem.

The Bears are coming off a 4-2 loss to No. 41 Texas Tech in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship.

Baylor is one of 16-host sites around the country with the winner of each advancing to the final site of the NCAA Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Team competition in Athens will be May 18-23, while the singles and doubles championship will take place May 24-28. Selections for those tournaments will be announced on Wednesday.

Baylor is 53-18 in NCAA Championship play all-time and has only lost twice in the opening two rounds in 1998 and 2001. When hosting, Baylor holds a 24-0 record in first and second round NCAA matches.

Lamar earned an automatic bid after winning the Southland Conference for a second-straight year. The Cardinals currently own a 17-7 record, following eight wins in their last nine matches. Lamar defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 4-1, in its last match out to claim the conference tournament title over the No. 1 seeded Islanders.

No. 26 and second-seeded Cornell will also make the trip to Waco. The Big Red earned an at-large bid out of the Ivy League, after tying for the regular season title and winning the program’s second conference tournament crown. Cornell is returning to the NCAA Championships for the first time since the 2011 season and is currently 21-3 on the year.

No. 42 Rice, the third-seed in Waco, earned an automatic bid after winning the Conference USA Tournament. The Owls (23-7) are making a second-straight NCAA appearance and beat Old Dominion, 4-3, to claim the league crown