Teams Prepare for BIG EAST Tennis Championships

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Nine men's teams and 15 women's teams will participate in the 2013 BIG EAST Tennis Championships April 18-21. This year the men will play at the Courtney Tennis Center on the campus of Notre Dame while the women will compete in Tampa, Fla. at USF. Notre Dame will represent the No. 1 seed in both the men's and women's tournaments for the second consecutive year.


The winners of the BIG EAST titles will receive the league's automatic bids to the NCAA Tennis Championships. First and Second Round competition is set to begin May 10-12 for men's and May 10-13 for women's on campus sites to be determined.


The Notre Dame men's team has claimed the top seed in the tournament for the second consecutive season and look for its first BIG EAST Championship since 2008. The Fighting Irish currently rank No. 28 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings and are led by reigning BIG EAST Player of the Year, junior Greg Andrews. Andrews ranks No. 85 in the nation and has been named the BIG EAST Player of the Week five times. Notre Dame will face the winner of No. 8 Connecticut and No. 9 St. John's Thursday 9 a.m. ET. They have not faced either team this year and finished third in 2012.


The Louisville men took the No. 2 seed for the second straight year and are looking for its fourth consecutive title. The Cardinals rank No. 50 in the nation and are led by sophomore Sebastian Stiefelmeyer. Stiefelmeyer is the highest ranked player on the men's at No. 69. Louisville will face No. 7 DePaul Friday at 9 a.m.


USF, the 2012 runner-up, earned the No. 3 seed. The Bulls rank No. 68 in the country and are led by their No. 71 ranked doubles team of sophomore Oliver Pramming and freshman Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz. USF eliminated top-seeded Notre Dame in last year's championship and will face sixth-seeded Villanova Friday at noon.


The No. 4 seed was locked up by Marquette. The Golden Eagles are scheduled to face No. 5 Georgetown Friday at noon. Both teams finished in a tie for fifth-place at the 2012 Championship.


BIG EAST Championship Seeds


1.    Notre Dame

2.    Louisville

3.    USF

4.    Marquette

5.    Georgetown

6.    Villanova

7.    DePaul

8.    Connecticut

9.    St. John's




On the women's side, Notre Dame enters the tournament as the top-seed and has won five straight BIG EAST Championships. The Fighting Irish rank No. 21 in the country and are led by one nationally ranked singles player and two nationally ranked doubles teams. Junior Britney Sanders is ranked No. 39 in the country in singles and No. 67 in doubles with partner and classmate Julie Sabacinski. The top-doubles team on Notre Dame belongs to No. 55 junior Jennifer Kellner and senior Chrissie McGaffigan. The Fighting Irish are scheduled to face the winner of No. 8 Marquette and No. 9 Cincinnati Friday at 9 a.m. ET.


USF, the 2012 runner-up, claims the number two-seed for the second consecutive year. The Bulls are led by the No. 103 ranked singles player, senior Ecaterina Vasenina. The team is ranked No. 57 in the latest ITA poll and will play the No. 15 seed Villanova Thursday at 9 a.m.


The third-seeded Louisville Cardinals rank No. 69 in the country. The team finished tied for third-place last year and are scheduled for a noon contest Thursday against No. 14 Seton Hall. The Cardinals look for their first-ever BIG EAST Championship.


The No. 4 seed belongs to Syracuse. The Orange have won three straight matches and will face No. 13 Connecticut Thursday at noon.


Rounding out the top-five is DePaul. The Blue Demons are led by nationally ranked freshman Matea Cutura. Cutura ranks No. 84 in the country. DePaul is slated to play No. 12 Providence Thursday at noon.


The remaining seeds belong to No. 6 St. John's, No. 7 Georgetown, No. 10 Pittsburgh and No. 11 St. John's.


The men's and women's championships begin April 18 at 9 a.m. ET. The men's side features a total of 12 matches and the women are scheduled for 24. The championship matches are set for 9 a.m. April 21. 


BIG EAST Championship Seeds


1.    Notre Dame

2.    USF

3.    Louisville

4.    Syracuse

5.    DePaul

6.    Rutgers

7.    Georgetown

8.    Marquette

9.    Cincinnati

10. Pittsburgh

11. St. John's

12. Providence

13. Connecticut

14. Seton Hall

15. Villanova