Red Raiders Earn Sixth-Straight NCAA Berth

Texas Tech men's tennis is California bound for the first two rounds of the NCAA Championships as the No. 2 seed in the California Regional.

Consistency is one of the many keys to success in sports, and for the No.19 Red Raiders they have been very consistent in one area in the past few seasons – making it to the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Tech (15-8) received its 11th overall and sixth-straight bid for the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday.

"Well I never take it for granted," Texas Tech men's tennis head coach Siegel said about going to the tournament for the sixth-straight year. "I'm proud of what our team's accomplished. It's not easy to get in there every year."

The Red Raiders received a spot as the No.2 seed in the California Regional and will first meet up with No. 63 Cal Poly.

The Mustangs (15-7), the Big West Champions, and the Red Raiders are meeting for the first time since 2001 when Tech defeated Cal Poly 6-1.

"I'm really pleased with the draw that we have," Siegel said. "Cal Poly won their conference, they're a good team. If we get past them, we play Cal Berkeley, a team that we beat last year, a team that I think that we match up well.

"So our goal is always to get to the Sweet Sixteen, and if we can get past this region we'll be in Athens."

If the Red Raiders do get past the Mustangs they will face the winner of the No. 14 California (12-11) and UTSA (13-10) matchup.

The Red Raiders defeated the Bears, 4-1, back on January 30, 2010 in Lubbock during the ITA Kick-off Weekend, and defeated the Roadrunners 6-1 earlier this season.

If the Red Raiders are able to get past this regional it will be on to a place Tech has not been in seven years – the Sweet Sixteen.

Tech made it to the Sweet Sixteen in 2005 after beating Army and Wake Forest in the first and second round before falling to Ole Miss, 4-2, in the Sweet Sixteen.

The goals are high going into a season, Siegel said, but once you're in the tournament they are adjusted just slightly.

"I think so, you go into a season and you never expect automatically to make the tournament. So once you get into the tournament, your next goal of course is try to make the Sweet Sixteen," he said. "We made it in 2005, but I thought we should have made it in 2008 and 2010. So it's our last opportunity with these three seniors, I'd love nothing more than to see them get to Athens."

Athens, Georgia, the host of the NCAA Championships, is a place seniors Raony Carvalho, Gonzalo Escobar and Rafael Garcia have not been, at least as a team, in their collegiate careers.

Escobar, ranked No. 43, finished the season at 29-12 overall, Carvalho the 75th-ranked singles player enters at 15-7 overall and Garcia turns in a 17-14 mark.

Behind their play and the rest of the squad, the Red Raiders turned in one of their best seasons downing Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor all in the same season for the first time in program history.

The tournament comes at the right time, Siegel said, because the team is playing the best at the best time.

"Well we're playing well, better than we have all year," he said. "We had a heart-breaking loss to Baylor, where we were just two points from winning, but we finished second in the conference and beat all three schools in Texas for the first time in our history here. We're playing well at the right time, at the same time we have to have a very, very good week of practice beginning tomorrow.

"We start playing on May 12, so we don't have a lot of time to improve and work on things, but our guys are very excited."

The Red Raiders are set to face the Mustangs in the opening round of the NCAA Championships on May 12 at 9 a.m. at the Hellman Tennis Complex.

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