The Wake Forest men’s tennis team learned Monday who it would play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But the Deacons, ranked No. 3 in the country and seeded No. 4 in the tournament, have had to play catch-up as they prepare for Friday’s match against Morgan State.
“We did a little scouting,” Coach Tony Bresky of the Deacons said.
The match, which is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex, features two conference champions.
Wake Forest (29-3) won its third ACC Tournament title in the past four years on April 21 with 4-2 victory against Virginia. Morgan State (14-7) defeated top-seeded South Carolina State 4-2 last weekend in the MEAC Tournament to secure an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Bears’ championship comes a year after they lost 4-2 to South Carolina State in the 2018 MEAC Tournament championship.
“It still hasn’t set in,” Coach Matthew Townes of Morgan State said. “It’s been a week almost since we started the (MEAC) tournament, and we set a goal to do it from the beginning of the year. Last year, we got clipped by (two points). It was 4-2, but we were winning on another court.
“We just knew we had a crucial opportunity and let it go. We didn’t want to let it happen again.”
Townes is in a unique situation in that he is also the women’s coach at Morgan State. He helped lead the women to the NCAA Tournament last year after the Bears defeated Hampton 4-1 in the MEAC championship.
“We experienced it the first time last year with my women’s team,” Townes said. “So this time winning it was really exciting. ... It’s just a joy for them to enjoy the moment.”
The Deacons won their first ACC Tournament title with Bresky as the coach in 2016 and have won it the past two years.
“I think their guys are going to be feeling very confident, excited and focused already, playing with less pressure on them because of that,” Bresky said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I remember when we won our first one. It’s just a fantastic feeling, and I’m sure they feel the same way.”
The Deacons are led by Borna Gojo of Croatia, Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus, and Bar Botzer of Israel. Chrysochos defeated Gojo in last year’s NCAA singles championship. All three recently earned All-ACC honors.
The Bears are led by Arjun Ramakrishnan, a senior from India, and Serhii Karchev, a sophomore from Ukraine.
Wake Forest is the overwhelming favorite to win today’s first-round match. The winner will play either Virginia Commonwealth (16-9) or Kentucky (15-14) on Saturday in the second round. Saturday’s match is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
Even though the Deacons appear to be set up for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, that doesn’t mean they are overlooking any opponent.
“They know it’s tournament time,” Bresky said.
The Wake Forest women (20-8) received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Deacons will travel to Athens, Ga., and their first-round match against Austin Peay (22-0) is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday.
If Wake Forest defeats Austin Peay, it will play either No. 1 Georgia (23-1) or Alabama State (13-8) at 2 p.m. Sunday in the second round.