Tennis Tigers Look to Extend NCAA Winning Streak

NCAA Tournament play begins for the Tigers, who face the Texas Longhorns.

Athens, Ga.--Auburn will look to continue its recent run of success in the opening round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament when the Tigers take on the University of Texas Longhorns on Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

During the past four seasons, Auburn has opened NCAA Tournament play with victories.

Last year the Tigers knocked off Georgia Tech to advance to the round of 32 where they fell to SEC opponent Ole Miss.

In 2002, the Tigers opened NCAA play with a 4-2 victory over East Tennessee State and reached the quarter-finals with victories over Mississippi State and Washington before falling to UCLA. A year before that the Tigers opened with a victory vs. Rice and in 2000 Coach Eric Shore's Tigers knocked off Cal in their first NCAA match.

Overall, this is Auburn's 12th NCAA Tournament appearance. Auburn has won its first match seven straight times and eight overall. One of those was a 1984 5-4 victory over Texas.

The 2004 Tigers, who are ranked 26th nationally thanks to a late-season surge, are the second seed at the four-team regional that features the University of Georgia as the host. There are 64 teams in the NCAA field with 16 regionals being played around the country. Texas, 14-11, is the third seed at the Athens regional and will face the Tigers at noon CDT.

Auburn, 11-11 overall, will play the winner of the match pitting Georgia vs. fourth seed Tennessee Tech. Auburn has not played Texas or Tennessee Tech this season. AU upset Georgia 5-2 in an SEC regular season match at Auburn.

Auburn hasn't played Texas in tennis since 1993. UT won that match and has a 2-1 all-time record vs. the Tigers. Antonio Ruiz and Jose Zarhi, who are ranked 11th nationally in doubles, lead the Longhorns.

Gabor Zoltan Pelva has been the top performer for Shore's Tigers, who are in a rebuilding season. Zoltan Pelva posted a 9-2 record in singles matches vs. SEC competition and is 14-6 overall. He is ranked 20th nationally and has earned an invitation to compete for the NCAA singles championship that will be contested May 26-30 in Tulsa, Okla.

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