Nittany Lion Tennis Set to Battle No. 20 Pepperdine in First Round of NCAA Championships
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; May 8, 2007 - For only the fourth time in program history, the 42nd-ranked Penn State men's tennis team will take the court on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Championships against No. 20 Pepperdine at Marks Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The Nittany Lions will meet the Waves at 1 p.m. (PT).
Penn State (16-6, 6-4 Big Ten) and defending national champion Pepperdine will meet in Los Angeles for the first time. The winner of the Penn State/Pepperdine match will face either UC Santa Barbara or Southern California on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT at USC's Marks Stadium.
Ranked 20th in the latest ITA National Team Rankings, Pepperdine bring a 22-7 mark into the NCAA Championships. The Waves come into Friday's match off of a 4-0 sweep of San Diego in the West Coast Conference final, which sealed their 17th-straight WCC crown. Pepperdine has won 15 of its last 16 matches, with the lone loss coming at the hands of No. 4 Baylor (4-3). Highlighting the Waves' spring were victories over No. 5 Notre Dame (4-2), No. 16 Florida State (4-3) and No. 11 Texas (5-2). In all, the Waves have 14 wins over teams ranked. This season marks the Waves' 18th consecutive and 29th overall bid into the NCAA Championships.
In a rare connection, Penn State head coach Todd Doebler served as an assistant at Pepperdine in 2001 and '02, helping the Waves achieve national prominence both years. Doebler worked under current USC head coach Peter Smith while at Pepperdine. In another ironic correlation, Pepperdine head coach Adam Steinberg spent four seasons (1985-88) as a member of the Nittany Lion tennis team. Steinberg also served as a student-assistant coach for two seasons in University Park.
The bid into the 2007 NCAA Championships marks Penn State's fourth all-time selection (1997, 1998, 2006, 2007). Last season, the Nittany Lions fell to No. 21 Washington in the opening round by a score of 4-2.
In 1998, Penn State took a 15-7 record into Region I of the NCAA Championships at Princeton. The Nittany Lions grabbed their first NCAA Tournament win with a 4-1 upset over Columbia, earning a trip to the East Regional semifinals where they fell to eventual regional champion Harvard.
The 1997 NCAA Championships saw the Nittany Lions suffer a 4-2 setback to Virginia Tech in their first match of the East Regionals at Harvard.
First and second-round competition will be held from May 11-13, with the winner of each site advancing to the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships at Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia.
For more information on the 2007 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships, please visit ncaasports.com.