Jayhawks to host Denver Friday in first round of NCAA Tournament
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time since 1997, Kansas tennis will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Three visiting teams are headed to Lawrence. The 14th-seeded Jayhawks, one of 16 hosts in the 64-team tournament, will host No. 47-ranked Denver in first-round play on Friday, May 3 at 1 p.m., at the Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park. The winner of that match will play the winner of Friday’s 10 a.m., Florida-Boston College match at 1 p.m. Saturday. Florida is ranked 23rd; Boston College is ranked 42nd.
This is the second year in a row that Kansas and Denver will face off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Last year the Jayhawks defeated Denver, 4-3, Kansas’ first NCAA victory since 1999.
Kansas is making its fourth-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 11th overall. KU has had one other four-year run of NCAA appearances – from 1996-99.
Kansas head coach Todd Chapman
“We have never had an easy match against Denver. We know it is going to be an extremely tough matchup. Denver is well coached and they play with a great deal of passion and pride. They have a lot of players returning from last year’s team, and so do we. It will be a matchup both teams are familiar with; we know we will have our hands full and it will be a great test.”
The Jayhawks (19-4) have been ranked in the top-20 for 14-straight weeks and have been ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation. Kansas is coming off winning its first-ever Big 12 Championship title after besting Texas, 4-2, Sunday, April 21, at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
2019 JAYHAWKS AT A GLANCE
- Kansas played eight matches against teams included in this season’s NCAA Tournament field.
- Kansas finished the spring 2019 season with a 16-4 record, finishing third in the Big 12 regular-season standings at 7-2.
- The Jayhawks were ranked as high as No. 7 for the first time since 1994 on Feb. 26.
- Kansas has been ranked in the top-20 for 14-straight weeks.
- Seniors Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia are ranked No. 3 in the nation in doubles and have been ranked as high as No. 1 (on April 2).
- Also ranked in doubles, Anastasia Rychagova and Sonia Smagina are No. 85.
- Rychagova has climbed her way into the top-20 ranked singles; she’s currently ranked No. 17 in the nation. Teammate Koch is ranked No. 110.
- Kansas triumphed over then-No. 7 Texas, 4-2, in the Big 12 Championship final at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
- Junior Maria Toran Ribes was named the Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament after clinching the match for the Jayhawks in the semifinal and final rounds.
- This spring, the Jayhawks have won 15 matches against teams that are either currently ranked or have appeared in the poll this season: Northwestern, Illinois, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor, Arkansas, Air Force, Tulsa, Rice and Wichita State. KU has not lost to any team outside the current top 15: Texas (No. 8), Washington (No. 11) and Oklahoma State twice (No. 14).
The Pioneers enter the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 17-5. Denver finished first in the Sun Belt Conference standings this season with a 5-0 record. The Pioneers last competed in the Sun Belt Conference Championship final against Omaha, 5-0, on April 27, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Division I Women’s Tennis Committee selected the 64-team field. Kansas was one of 31 teams to receive an automatic bid after being crowned Big 12 Conference Champions. Thirty-three teams were selected as at-large bids to round out the 64. Five of 10 Big 12 teams earned bids: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas. Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma State are hosting first- and second-round matches.
FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS
First-and second-round competition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship will be held at 16 campus sites May 3-5, including Lawrence. Winners advance to the second round to be held on Saturday, May 4. The winners of the second round will advance to the Super Regional rounds May 10-11.
Super regionals of the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship will be held May 10-11 at non-predetermined campus sites.
The super-regional winners will advance to the NCAA Championships at the UTSA National Campus in Orlando, Florida, where the final eight teams will compete to take home the national championship May 17-19. The event will be hosted by the University of Central Florida and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.
KANSAS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Jayhawks are making their 11th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, fourth in head coach Todd Chapman’s tenure. Kansas is 9-9 all-time in the postseason and is making its fourth-straight appearance.
1992: (0-1): In Kansas’ first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the Jayhawks were bested by the San Diego State Azecs in the round of 16, 5-4.
1993: (0-1): In the round of 16, Kansas fell to Clemson, 5-3.
1994: (1-1): The Jayhawks beat Arizona State, 5-4, in the Round of 16 for the first-ever tournament win for the program. In the quarterfinals, Kansas was defeated by California, 5-3.
1996: (2-1): In the quarterfinals, Kansas blanked Boise State, 5-0. The semifinal round was an in-state clash between the Jayhawks and the Wildcats as the Jayhawks came up on top, 5-4. Kansas was topped by Oklahoma State in the all-Big 8 final, 5-4.
1997: (1-1): Kansas triumphed over Colorado, 5-4, before falling to Arkansas, 5-1, in the NCAA Central Region Championships.
1998: (3-1): The Jayhawks opened the 1998 NCAA Tournament in a round of 16 matchup losing to the Georgia Bulldogs, 5-3. In the NCAA Central Region Championships, Kansas defeated Oklahoma, 5-2, New Mexico, 5-3 and Arizona in the final, 5-2.
1999: (1-1): Kansas advanced past New Mexico in the first round of the tournament, 5-3, before falling to Duke, 5-0.
2016: (0-1): After a 17-year drought from the NCAA Tournament, Kansas lost to UC Santa Barbara, 4-3.
2017: (0-1): The Jayhawks lost a close battle to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 4-3, as Kansas had to forfeit at two positions.
2018: (1-1): Kansas tennis won its first NCAA Tournament match since 1999. The Jayhawks defeated the Denver Pioneers, 4-3, to advance to the second round, where they fell short to Pepperdine, 4-1.
The winner of the KU-DU contest will play the winner of the Florida-Boston College match on Saturday, May 4, at the Jayhawk Tennis Center in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.