Kansas Tennis Tabbed for NCAA Championship for the First Time in 17 Years
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Suspense was in the air, but it did not last long as Kansas was one of the first four teams to flash across the screen during the 2016 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships selection show. KU, who is appearing in the tournament for the first time since 1999, will take on UC Santa Barbara in the first round of play on Friday, May 13 at 12 p.m. (CT) at the Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley, California.
“It was good to see our name called so quickly,” said Kansas head coach Todd Chapman, who is in his third season at the helm of the KU program. “Being an at-large bid we wanted to know that we were in right away, so that was good. We saw our name and anything else that happened after that didn’t matter because we knew we were good. We’re looking forward to going to California.”
KU head coach Todd Chapman cheers as his hears his team’s name called for the 2016 NCAA Championship.Chapman was not the only one who was happy to see Kansas on the screen. KU’s lone senior, Maria Jose Cardona, spoke on behalf of her teammates.
“It is really exciting,” said Cardona. “This is the first time we’ve made it to the NCAA since I’ve been here, so it’s just amazing. We started to work very well last semester. The young girls who came in are fighters. We all got in the mindset to work hard and it would pay off.”
Kansas will travel to the No. 1 overall seed California for the first two rounds of play. The Jayhawks are the two seed in their pod and will face the No. 3 seed UC Santa Barbara, while Cal will take on No. 4 seed University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Kansas and UCSB will face off at 12 p.m. (CT), followed by the Cal-UTRGV match at 3 p.m. (CT). The two winners will match up at 5 p.m. (CT), on Saturday, May 14.
“We’ll focus first on UC Santa Barbara, I know they’re a quality team,” said Chapman. “They have a coach who started at their program a few years ago and is getting things turned around and they were champions in their conference. I know some teams who have played them this year, so I’ll definitely be on the phone trying to get some notes on them.”
The Jayhawks, who are currently ranked No. 33 in the latest ITA standings, have put together a 17-7 overall mark and finished in a five-way tie for second place in the Big 12 Conference with a 6-3 record in league play. KU advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 Big 12 Championship for the first time since 2002, where they fell to eventual-champion, Oklahoma State.
Kansas’ last appearance in the NCAA Championship came in 1999, where the Jayhawks defeated New Mexico, 5-3, in the first round, before falling to Duke, 5-0, in the second round. KU will be making the program’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance, but its first in 17 years.
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