Baylor Bear Insider
Selected as the No. 3 national seed for the NCAA Tennis Championship on Monday, the Baylor men (26-3) will host the first and second rounds at the Hurd Tennis Center for the third-straight year and 15th time in the last 19 years.
Last year’s national runners-up, the Bears will face WAC champion Abilene Christian (13-11) in Friday’s 6 p.m. first-round match. No. 26 Texas A&M (21-13) squares off against 45th-ranked Tulsa (15-11) at 3 p.m. Friday, with the two winners advancing to Saturday’s 6 p.m. second-round match to compete for a berth in the Sweet 16.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to host the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament, you know you’ve had a great season,” Baylor coach Michael Woodson said. “Once you get into the tournament, you’re playing conference champions, some of the best teams in the country. So, nothing’s for granted, but certainly an advantage for us to play at home.”
Baylor is 32-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games in Waco, with the only loss coming against eventual national champion Virginia in the 2015 semifinals. If they advance through the first two rounds, the Bears would also host the Super Regional the following weekend and are paired with the regional at 14th-seeded Harvard (18-4).
“We’re just trying to make sure we’re clicking at the right time,” said Woodson, whose team beat top-ranked TCU, 4-2, in the Big 12 Championship final last weekend in Fort Worth. “I feel like our guys are putting in the work, the preparation’s been there, the opportunity is in front of us, and we’re excited. Take it one match at a time, put our best selves out there and compete as hard as we can.”
The Bears have four ranked singles players – Adrian Boitan (4th), Matias Soto (38th), Tadeas Paroulek (70th) and Sven Lah (78th) – and a pair of top-10 doubles teams with Lah and Finn Bass at No. 3 and Soto and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi at No. 9.
Stringing together seven-straight wins after a 4-3 home-court loss to TCU on April 3, Baylor goes into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country. That stretch included a 4-2 win over 12th-seeded Texas in the Big 12 tournament semifinals.
Woodson noted that the Bears won their third-straight Big 12 tournament without getting a win from Boitan at No. 1 singles. He had a third-set lead on the Longhorns’ Eliot Spizzirri in the semifinals, then suffered his first dual-match loss of the season, falling to 18th-ranked Luc Fomba in the final.
“Over the four years that we’ve had together, I’m not sure there’s been a moment where (Boitan) hasn’t delivered over the course of a weekend or a tournament,” Woodson said. “I think it showed our team that we can do it, and I think it gave him a lot of confidence in the other guys.”
Rebounding from an 0-6 start that included a 7-0 loss to Baylor on Jan. 24 in Waco, ACU has won six in a row and nine of its last 12, defeating top-seeded Lamar, 4-1, to win its first-ever WAC championship in a team sport.
Baylor also defeated Tulsa, 4-1, earlier this year and split a pair of matches with Texas A&M last year, including an ITA Kickoff Weekend neutral-site match that earned the Bears a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championship.
Playing 18 of its 29 matches against NCAA Tournament teams, Baylor has a 15-3 record overall with seven wins over national seeds.
“The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know,” Woodson said. “I feel like we’ve had the opportunity to play against a lot of the top teams in the country. We know what to expect. Even the ones coming here, we played Texas A&M twice last year, we’ve played Tulsa and Abilene this year. We know what we’re getting ourselves into. And we know it’s not going to be easy, which I feel like will prepare us well.”
WACO, Texas – The Baylor men’s tennis team will host first- and second-round action of the NCAA Tennis Championship, as announced by the NCAA Monday evening.
The Bears, the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament, will welcome Abilene Christian, Tulsa and Texas A&M to Waco and the Hurd Tennis Center for play on Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7. BU will be the No. 1 seed of the Waco Regional.
This is the second time since 2015 that Baylor has received a top-four overall seed. The Bears are currently 26-3 on the 2022 season and ranked the No. 3 overall team in the nation per the latest Oracle/ITA team rankings.
The Bears will be making their 24th-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance following last season’s run, finishing as the nation’s Runner Up in Orlando, Fla. Baylor is hosting for the 16th time overall and 15th time in the last 19 seasons.
Baylor is 59-21 all-time in NCAA Championship play and 32-1 when hosting in Waco.
The Bears are coming off winning the program’s 25th overall conference title, the most of any Baylor squad, in Fort Worth after besting No. 1-ranked TCU in the finals.
First- and second-round competition takes place May 6-7 and features four teams playing in a single-elimination format at one of 16 regional sites. The winner of each site advances to super-regional competition May 13 or 14. Each super-regional site will feature two teams playing a single-elimination format. The super-regional winners advance to the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Champaign, Illinois, where the eight teams will compete for the national championship May 19-22. The event will be hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The matches will be regulation dual matches. Three doubles matches consisting of six-game sets will be played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point; played the best of three sets. No-ad scoring will be used and a seven-point tiebreaker (first to seven points, must win by two points) will be played at six-games-all. The team winning four or more team points advances in the championship bracket.
During the championship, all matches will be stopped after the doubles point is decided. All remaining individual matches will be stopped once a team winner (four points won) has been determined. The score will only reflect completed matches. The complete list of teams and sites is included on the official bracket, which is available at www.ncaa.com.
NCAA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
(Hurd Tennis Center, Waco, Texas)
Friday, May 6:
2-seed Texas A&M (21-13) vs. 3-seed Tulsa (15-11), 3 p.m.
1-seed Baylor (26-3) vs. 4-seed Abilene Christian (12-11), 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 7:
Baylor/Abilene Christian winner vs. Tulsa/Texas A&M winner, 6 p.m.
To stay up to date throughout the season on all things Baylor men’s tennis, follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @BaylorMTennis.
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