April 28, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The 24th-ranked women's tennis team will head to Athens, Ga. to take on 35th-ranked Boise State in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament that begins May 8. Approximately 125 supporters were on hand at Epiphany Café in Tuscaloosa to watch the live selection show.
"We are very excited," said head coach Jenny Mainz. "We worked diligently all season, and this was our goal. We have a lot of work to do with Boise State. They are a very good team."
The Crimson Tide is heading to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history and first since 2006. The team's best finish occurred most recently in 2003 when it advanced to the second round of play.
Boise State comes in having lost in the finals of the WAC Championship to top seed and top-20 opponent Fresno State. The Broncos recorded 23 wins on the season and finished second in the WAC. Earlier in the season, Boise State had a 14-match winning streak, including five wins over ranked teams during the streak. Junior Pichittra Thongdach leads the way for the Broncos, currently ranked No. 80 nationally in singles. Boise State does not have a doubles pair ranked nationally.
In the other first round match taking place in Athens, No. 2 overall seed and host Georgia, who was the automatic qualifier from the SEC, takes on South Carolina State, the automatic qualifier from the MEAC. The winner of that match will then face the winner of the Alabama/Boise State match.
"You are placed where you finish," added Mainz. "I give credit to the strength of the SEC. The conference was loaded this season and it was very competitive. We have played Georgia twice this season, but right now we are just thinking about Boise State."
This season has been a memorable one for Alabama as it recorded its best start in program history and its longest win streak at 11-0. The Tide defeated seven ranked teams and reached as high as No. 16 in the nation for its highest team ranking since 1997. In addition, Alabama received the ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award for the month of March and has had four SEC weekly recognitions.