Coach Lauren Spencer (above) had something to smile about on Tuesday.
Auburn, Ala.--Although the Tigers made school history on Tuesday when they became the first Auburn women’s tennis team to earn a national seed for the NCAA tennis tournament, it wasn’t exactly celebration time at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
After learning they will be a host for an NCAA regional opening round matchup vs. SWAC champion Alcorn State, Coach Lauren Spencer’s team continued to watch the NCAA Selection Show to see who they would play. After that they filed out of their team room and began warming up for a normal practice session.
Spencer says she hopes that is a sign that her team is not satisfied with just being a national seed while adding, “I think it is good for us to be at home, it gives us a lot of confidence. The best teams in the country still want to play in April and May.
“They are still hungry,” she adds. “They really think they can go far in the tournament so it is very good for us. I am proud of them.”
The Tigers watch the NCAA Selection Show on television as their team is announced as the No. 11 national seed.
While her team took the news matter-of-factly, Spencer was so eager to know her team’s seed that she called friends “in high places” and was able to get the news ahead of time. “I?have never got to host before,” she says. “I have been on the bubble so when they said we could that was awesome.”
A total of 64 teams received bids with 16 national seeds being awarded homecourt advantage for the opening two rounds. Auburn, which is 22-7 overall and one win shy of a school-record victory total, will open play on Friday, May 13th vs. an Alcorn State team that is 13-15. The winner of that match will play the winner of North Carolina State (15-11) and Arizona State (17-15).
Spencer, who led the Tigers to school records for SEC victories and their first-ever Top 10 national ranking, says the Tigers are ahead of schedule on her timetable for becoming a national seed as her squad earned a spot in the NCAA tournament for a fourth straight year.
“Chris (assistant coach Chris Hooshyar) and I when we sat down and thought about it and how long was this was going to take us to get to this point, to be honest with you it came a year earlier than we expected,” she says.
The winners of the 16 regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships, which start on May 19th in Tulsa.
Auburn and Alcorn State will meet for the first time in women’s tennis at 2 p.m. CDT on Friday, May 13th at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. The winner of that match will play in the round of 32 at 1 p.m. the following day with the winner moving to the Sweet 16 round.
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