The No. 68 Fresno State women's tennis team is set to face No. 17 Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Friday.
May 7, 2014
Weekly Match Notes
2014 NCAA Women's Tennis Championship
Marks Stadium Los Angeles, Calif.
No. 17 Michigan (21-4) vs. No. 68 Fresno State (16-8)
Round 1 Regional May 9, 2014 11 a.m. PT
Live Stats: GoBulldogs.com
Fresno State to Face Michigan in NCAA Regional
With the 2014 Mountain West Championship under its belt, the Fresno State women's tennis team earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will open play on Friday against No. 17 Michigan in Los Angeles, Calif., at 11 a.m. The Bulldogs and the Wolverines are joined by host school and No. 16 seed USC (16-7) and Idaho (19-5) for the NCAA Championship Regional at Marks Stadium. The winner of the Fresno State-Michigan matchup will face either USC or Idaho in the second round of the tournament on Saturday, May 10 at 2 p.m. This is the Bulldogs 16th NCAA appearance and first since 2011.
About the Competition
Michigan currently holds a national ranking of No. 17 and finished regular season play with a 21-4 overall record. With an undefeated conference mark (11-0) in 2014, the Wolverines had a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to No. 16 Northwestern to finish runner-up in the Big Ten Tournament on April 27. This is Michigan's 13th straight NCAA appearance and the first time since the 2008-09 season that U-M is playing on the road during regional action. Michigan is looking for its fifth straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and is led by four ranked singles players in No. 9 Emina Bektas, No. 25 Ronit Yurovsky, No. 117 Amy Zhu and No. 122 Sarah Lee. Bektas and Brooke Bolender are ranked at No. 18 as a doubles pair.
Fresno State in the Postseason
Fresno State has a strong background in the big tournament, the 'Dogs notched 14 straight appearances from 1996-2009 and have advanced the Sweet 16 four times in program history. The last time the Bulldogs made it that far was in 2009, the same year they ran off a 13 match win streak in route to the WAC conference title, followed by a pair of NCAA opening round wins over Eastern Kentucky and Illinois.
2014 Mountain West Champions
The Bulldogs defeated New Mexico 4-2 on April 27 to clinch their first Mountain West Women's Tennis Championship in program history to earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Leading up to that point, Fresno State had to first win back-to-back matches over UNLV (4-3) in the quarterfinals and Wyoming (4-1) in the semifinals on April 26. Coming off a hard fought conference championship win, Fresno State looks to carry momentum in the tournament as it has won 12 straight matches and 14 of its last 15 played.
Stotland Named MW Coach of the Year
In just his second year at the helm of the Fresno State women's tennis program, head coach Ryan Stotland was named Mountain West Coach of the Year by the conference on May 1 as voted on by the league's 11 head coaches. After starting the season with a 1-7 mark, Stotland turned the Bulldogs' year around and guided them to their best finish since 2011. Stotland led Fresno State (16-8) to 12 straight wins in route to their first Mountain West Women's Tennis Championship in program history with a 4-2 victory over New Mexico on April 27. The Bulldogs recorded an undefeated 7-0 home record at Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center this season and put up a perfect 5-0 record in MW play and garnished several conference accolades along the way under Stotland's leadership.
Three Bulldogs Named to All-MW Teams
Three Bulldogs were named to the 2014 All-Mountain West tennis teams by the conference on April 23 at the annual banquet. Sophomores Sophie Watts and Rana Sherif Ahmed were both named the All-Mountain West Singles Team. Sophie finished regular season with a 12-9 mark at the No. 1 spot including a 4-1 MW record and 5-1 record in the MW tournament while Ahmed won seven matches for the 'Dogs this spring at the No. 2 slate and won the championship-clinching point for the Bulldogs against New Mexico. Sophie was also named to the All-Mountain West Doubles Team alongside doubles partner Anneka Watts. The twin duo went 3-0 in the conference championship and current stand at 17-3 overall this spring- their season was highlighted by a 9-match win streak from Feb. 8-March 16.
Fresno State enters the tournament with an ITA team ranking of No. 68 this week, moving up three spots from its previous pre-championship standing. Sophomore Sophie Watts maintained her singles ITA ranking this week and currently resides at No. 72. The Bulldogs have had a Top 75 team ranking for the majority of the spring, with their highest ranking of No. 55 on Jan. 29.
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