MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 20 LSU men’s tennis team is set for the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Malibu, Calif., where they will face No. 41 Stanford on Friday, May 10 at noon CT at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. This leg of the tournament is hosted by No. 12 Pepperdine (24-5), who will face off against UC Santa Barbara (12-13).
This will not be the first time these two teams have faced each other in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal dealt a 5-2 loss to the Tigers in the championship match of the 1988 tournament. “LSU and Stanford have a rich history going back to 1988 NCAA championship match,” head coach Jeff Brown said. “Stanford played better toward the end of this year and we have a lot of respect for their program. Our guys are certainly excited to go to Malibu and compete.”
LSU (15-11) is coming off a first-round exit in the SEC Championships in Oxford, Miss., following a 4-3 loss to South Carolina (18-10, 7-5 SEC) on April 18. They will be led in singles by sophomore No. 42 Chris Simpson, and senior No. 91 Stefan Szacinski, both of which were named to the All-SEC Second Team for the season. Simpson has also been selected to participate in singles for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships in Urbana, Ill., from May 22-27 after the conclusion of the team championships. In doubles, the Tigers will be led by No. 31 Szacinski and freshman Tam Trinh, and the No. 74 duo of Simpson and Szacinski.
Stanford (12-11) got off to a slow start this season, winning just two of their first seven matches. The Cardinal then won a season-high four-straight matches before losing four of their next five matches. They finished off the regular season winning three of their final four matches. They defeated then-No. 33 Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 Championships before losing 4-0 to No. 1 UCLA in the semifinals. The Cardinal are led in singles by No. 50 sophomore John Morrissey. Their lone ranked doubles pair is No. 54 Morrissey and Denis Lin.
The Tigers, making their third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, lost in the second round of the tournament last year to then-No. 8 Duke 4-1 after defeating Northwestern 4-0 in the first round.
The Southeastern Conference is well-represented in the field of 64 teams with 11 schools making the tournament. Every SEC school besides Arkansas made the tournament. “Having gone through the SEC schedule this year, we knew it was a very talented year and getting this many teams in the field really validates that,” Brown said. “It’s been a really special year for the conference.”
Georgia checks in at the No. 3 seed, followed by Ole Miss at No. 6, Tennessee at No. 7, Kentucky at No. 8, Mississippi State at No. 10, Texas A&M at No. 12, Florida at No. 15, and Vanderbilt at No. 16.
The second match for Friday features Pepperdine hosting UC Santa Barbara at 3 p.m. CT. The winners of both matches will face off against each other in the second round on Saturday, May 11, at 3 p.m. CT.
The full tournament bracket can be viewed at http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/tennis-men/d1/2012. The Regional homepage can be found at http://www.pepperdinesports.com/sports/m-tennis/ncaa-tourney.html.
For up-to-date information and behind the scenes access on the Tigers, fans can follow the LSU men's team on Twitter @lsutennis, and follow head coach Jeff Brown @LSUCoachJBrown and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.