May 6, 2009
NCAA Tennis Tournaments Start Thursday
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State's nationally-ranked tennis teams will begin NCAA tournament play Thursday with the men taking on St. Edward's at 10 a.m. in Lawton, Okla., and the women facing Northeastern State at noon in San Marcos, Texas.
Should the Bearcats advance to the second round, they'll compete at 10 a.m. Friday. The Northwest men would face Cameron while the women would take on the winner of St. Edward's and Central Oklahoma.
The 35th-ranked Bearcat women (16-5) are making their 15th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and have advanced past the second round in each of the last six seasons. Northwest earned an automatic bid to the tournament by winning the MIAA tournament during the final weekend of April.
Northeastern State (18-4), ranked No. 21, placed second to Abilene Christian in the Lone Star Conference, but picked up an at large bid to qualify for its 11th straight NCAA tournament. Half of the Riverhawks' four losses have come against West Florida and Abilene Christian, currently ranked fifth and sixth in the nation, respectively. Northeastern also dropped 5-4 decisions to NAIA-power Berry College and conference-foe Tarleton State.
The 25th-ranked Bearcat men (14-7) are making their fourth straight tournament appearance and 12th in the last 15 seasons. Northwest received an at large bid after placing second in the MIAA standings.
Northwest has lost three of its last four matches, including a 6-3 decision to St. Edward's in Topeka, Kan., back on April 17. The 23rd-ranked Hilltoppers (13-11) won all three doubles points en route to the win. St. Edward's, winner of the Heartland Conference, enters the tournament having won nine of its last 11 matches.
Northwest's top men's players Daniel Usieto and Felipe Gennari enter the tournament with 17 singles victories this season, which is one back of Alen Horvat for second-place in program records.
Erika Leston's 25 wins are tied for the third-most in Northwest women's records. She'd won 18 straight matches prior to last weekend's loss to Drury's Anna Lustig by a 10-8 super tiebreaker.
Also of note on the women's side is senior Jordan Lipira's 74 career singles victories - tied for fifth in Northwest annuals. A win Thursday would move her into a tie for fourth with Lia Ruiz. Lipira's 153 career wins (singles and doubles combined) are the fourth-most in program history.
Women's South Central Regional
#1 Abilene Christian vs. #8 Washburn
#5 Incarnate Word vs. #3 Tarleton State
*San Marcos, Texas
#2 St. Edward's vs. #6 Central Oklahoma
#7 Northwest Missouri State vs. #4 Northeastern State
Men's South Central Regional
#4 Washburn vs. #5 Southwest Baptist
Winner to face #1 Abilene Christian
#3 St. Edward's vs. #6 Northwest Missouri State
Winner to face #2 Cameron
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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