The Wake Forest men’s tennis team has had a year to savor its reign as the NCAA champion. Now, it will try to successfully defend the title it won last May at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
On Monday, the NCAA announced that Wake Forest (29-3) received the No. 4 overall seed and will play host to a four-team regional on Friday and Saturday. Wake Forest will face MEAC champion Morgan State (14-7) at 4 p.m. Friday.
If the Deacons win, they will play the winner of the match, also in Winston-Salem, between Virginia Commonwealth (16-9) and Kentucky (15-14), scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, at 4 p.m. in Saturday’s second round.
“The seedings don’t matter a whole lot,” Coach Tony Bresky of Wake Forest said. “Whether we were 3 or 5 or 2 or wherever the committee wanted to put us, you can kind of overthink that stuff and get focused on your first-round match, and just go from there.”
Ohio State, which Wake Forest defeated 4-2 in last year’s national championship, is the No. 1 overall seed. The Buckeyes (29-2) defeated the Deacons 4-2 in February at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Chicago. Texas (23-3) is the No. 2 overall seed and Florida (21-3) is the No. 3 seed. The Gators defeated Wake Forest 5-2 in Gainesville, Fla., on March 13.
The Deacons are one of six ACC’s men’s tennis teams to qualify for the field of 64. Also earning berths in the tournament were No. 5 Virginia, No. 9 North Carolina, N.C. State, Miami and Notre Dame.
“You never know how the committee is thinking,” Bresky said. “Obviously, we had a road loss to Florida, perhaps without our full lineup in there. Do I think it really matters that much? No. They have their set of criteria and they go with that and so be it. So we’re No. 4 and now it’s just time to go play.”
If the Deacons win Friday and Saturday, they would play host to the newly-implemented Super Regional next weekend against the winner of the regional in College Station, Texas, which features No. 13 Texas A&M. The Deacons defeated the Aggies in the semifinals last year.
The NCAA Tournament’s final three rounds will be played in Orlando, Fla.
Wake Forest still has a powerhouse lineup, led by No. 1 Borna Gojo, No. 2 Petros Chrysochos and No. 3 Bar Botzer. Chrysochos defeated Gojo in the NCAA singles championship here last year.
Morgan State earned an at-large bid with its 4-2 victory against top-seeded South Carolina State this past weekend in the MEAC tournament.
“To be honest with you I don’t know much,” Bresky said of Morgan State. “We don’t see a lot of them.”
The Wake Forest women (20-8) also earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Deacons will travel to Athens, Ga., for a match against Austin Peay (22-0) scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m.
“I know they’re undefeated,” Coach Jeff Wyshner of Wake Forest said of Austin Peay. “I thought they were likely to be there. We just didn’t know if they were going to be the 3 seed or the 4 seed there. And we expected that was where we were going because we were the only team ranked between 13 and 32 in the country within 400 miles of Athens.
“The NCAA rules on regionalization kind of forced us, even though we maybe should be playing somebody 10th, 11th, 12th in the country at their site. Obviously we’ve got to figure what we can about Austin Peay in the next few days.”
If the Deacons defeat Austin Peay, they will play the winner of Saturday’s match between No. 1 Georgia (23-1) and Alabama State (13-8), at 2 p.m. in Sunday’s second round.
Wake Forest defeated Arizona State in the first round in Athens last year and lost to Georgia in the second round.
“This is the third time in four years we’ve been to Athens, Ga.,” Wyshner said. “This past fall, we went down to a fall tournament there. So we’ve been there twice in the last 12 months.”
The Deacons are one of 10 ACC women’s teams to make the NCAA Tournament. No. 2 North Carolina, No. 5 Duke, No. 8 Miami, No. 11 Florida State, N.C. State, Virginia, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Syracuse all made it.