May 5, 2004
The Georgia Tech men’s tennis team earned its fourth-straight at-large berth into the NCAA Championship and seventh bid in the last eight years when the field of 64 teams was announced Wednesday afternoon.
The No. 28 Yellow Jackets (15-7) will travel to Waco, Texas, to face No. 35 Southern Methodist University (17-11) in the first round of competition on May 15 or 16. The first two rounds will be held at the Baylor Tennis Center on the campus of Baylor University.
“Obviously we are excited to be in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-straight year,” said head coach Kenny Thorne. “We had a chance to send some of our team to a tournament this fall at Baylor so several of our guys know what a great facility to play tennis it is. SMU is one of those teams that knows how to win and is not afraid to beat good teams. They’ve had some great wins this year, have a great player in Johan Brunstrom, and will be a tough matchup for us.”
The Jackets’ 2004 appearance will be the ninth in the history of the program, as Thorne has now led Tech to the NCAAs in five of his six seasons at the helm. The Jackets enter this year’s tournament with a 5-8 record in NCAA matches, including a first round lost last season to 23rd-ranked Auburn in Oxford, Miss.
Georgia Tech is 1-1 in matches against SMU with the Yellow Jackets last earning a 5-2 win in 1995.
All-ACC performer Scott Schnugg will lead Tech as it enters the 2004 NCAA Championship. Schnugg, a senior from Medford, Ore., earned all-ACC honors for the second straight year in 2004, ranking first on the team in singles wins and playing solely in the No. 1 position in the singles lineup. Joining Schnugg in the singles lineup are seniors Jason Pieters, West Nott and Joao Menano. Nott is second on the team with 21 singles wins this year while Pieters is fourth on the team with 17 wins.
“I feel great about where we are as a team right now,” said Thorne “We just finished up with finals so we have been able this week to get a lot of practices in and just concentrate on tennis and our guys are excited to have a chance to play again after nearly three weeks rest.”
The winner of the match between Georgia Tech and SMU will advance to face the winner of second-ranked and third-seeded Baylor (26-2) and Manhattan (14-4) in the second round. The winner of that match will advance to the Round of 16 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. The entire bracket for the tournament is available at www.ncaachampionships.com.