May 4, 2005
The Georgia Tech men’s tennis team earned its fifth-straight at-large berth into the NCAA Championship and eighth bid in the last nine years when the field of 64 teams was announced Wednesday afternoon. The No. 28 Yellow Jackets (14-9) will travel to Gainesville, Fla., to face No. 38 Vanderbilt (12-10) in the first round of competition on May 13 or 14. The first two rounds will be held at Gainesville, Fla. on the campus of the University of Florida.
“Obviously we are excited to be in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth-straight year,” said head coach Kenny Thorne. “We lost our No. 1, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 players from last year’s team and to find a way with five freshman to make it into this year’s tournament is a major accomplishment. We’ve faced Vanderbilt a number of times and know that they are a good program. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve faced them, but our matches are always competitive and they play in a great conference so I’m sure it will be an exciting match.”
The Jackets’ 2005 appearance will be the 10th in the history of the program, as Thorne has now led Tech to the NCAAs in six of his seven seasons at the helm. The Jackets enter this year’s tournament with a 5-9 record in NCAA matches, including a first round lost last season to 35th-ranked SMU in Waco, Texas.
Georgia Tech is 18-8 in matches against Vanderbilt with the Yellow Jackets last earning a 4-3 win in 2001.
Jose Muguruza will lead Tech as it enters the 2005 NCAA Championship. Muguruza, a sophomore from Wesley Chapel, Fla., earned all-ACC honors for the first time in his career as is currently ranked No. 22 in the latest ITA singles rankings. Joining Muguruza in the singles lineup are freshman David North, Sukhwa Young and Jordan Delass while junior Marko Rajevac and sophomore Zachary Rath will also be in the singles lineup.
“I feel great about where we are as a team right now,” said Thorne “We are finishing up with finals right now but we have been able this week to get a lot of practices in and next week we’ll be able to concentrate on tennis. After nearly three weeks of rest, our guys are excited to have a chance to play again and really look forward to doing something in this year’s tournament.”
The winner of the match between Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt will advance to face the winner of third-ranked and fourth-seeded Florida (20-5) and UCF (14-8) in the second round. The winner of that match will advance to the Round of 16 at the Texas A&M Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, May 21-30. The entire bracket for the tournament is available at www.ncaachampionships.com.