Bama Tennis in First Round of NCAA Championships

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The 32nd-ranked Alabama men's tennis team (13-13) will take on No. 65 East Tennessee State (15-7) in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships beginning May 14. The Crimson Tide and Bucs will travel to the Knoxville regional joining Winthrop (13-11) and No. 2-seed Tennessee (26-1).

"We are obviously very happy to be invited again to the NCAA Championships," said head coach Billy Pate. "We face a very tough team in East Tennessee State in our first round matchup. We played them three years ago and it was a battle. We expect it to be much of the same this season."

Alabama will be playing in the NCAA Championships for the 16th time in program history and seventh under Pate. In 2009, the Tide bowed out in the second round to 25th-ranked Boise State in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss. Alabama's best finish in the 64-team draw was the Round of 16, last accomplished in 2007.

The Tide has been ranked inside the top 40 all season long defeating seven nationally-ranked foes along the way. Alabama's schedule was one of the most grueling in the nation with 20 matches coming against nationally-ranked teams.

East Tennessee State recently won its fourth consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. The Bucs are led in singles by sophomore Sander Gille, who went 10-0 in conference action. In doubles, East Tennessee State's No. 3 team of sophomore Robin Akser and senior Daniel Isaza also went 10-0 versus league foes and have won their last 11 straight.

"We've had some great practices this week as the team wraps up final exams," added Pate. "We plan on getting in a few more solid afternoons at the courts before we head to Knoxville next week."

Specific dates and times for first and second round action will be announced at a later time.

The 2010 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship draws will be released on Wednesday, May 5 no later than 5:00 p.m. CST. Draws can be found on

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics