Jayhawk Netters Set to Face UC Santa Barbara in First Round NCAA Championship Play
Kansas, who is appearing in the NCAA Championship 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.
The Jayhawks, who are currently ranked No. 32 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. KU freshman Anastasiya Rychagova was recently tabbed ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year, while Jayhawk head coach Todd Chapman was named Coach of the Year for the region.
THE SERIES: KANSAS vs. UCSB
UC Santa Barbara (18-7, 7-1 Big West), leads the all-time series with Kansas, 2-0. The last match-up between the two schools was in 1986 when the Gauchos topped the Jayhawks, 7-2, on a neutral court.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS
Santa Barbara enters the postseason with an 18-7 record and defeated Hawai’i in a 4-0 league tournament championship match. The Gauchos enter the NCAA Tournament having won eight-consecutive matches and 13 of their last 15. The only two losses over that span came at home to Harvard and at Long Beach State, both by 4-3 scores. After defeating Cal Poly in the regular season finale, they breezed by UC Davis (4-0) and Cal State Northridge (4-1) to defeat Hawai’i in the final. This will be the Gauchos’ first trip to the tournament since 1996, and the third in the programs history. This will also be head coach Simon Thibodeau’s eighth trip and first with UCSB.
The winner between KU-UCSB will take on the winner between top-seeded Cal and No. 4 seed University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). The two winners will match up at 5 p.m. (CT), on Saturday, May 14, at the Hellman Tennis Center.
KEEPING UP WITH KANSAS
Live match statistics can be found on KUAthletics.com or by following the @KansasTennis on Twitter.