Four BIG EAST Tennis Teams Earn NCAA Championship Berths

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Two BIG EAST women's tennis teams and two men's teams received bids to the 2011 NCAA Tennis Championships as announced Tuesday. The Notre Dame women and the Louisville men earned automatic berths after winning the BIG EAST Championships, while the Irish men and USF women received at-large bids. First- and second-round play for both tournaments is scheduled for May 13-15 at 16 campus sites. Ranked No. 20 in the ITA team rankings, the Irish women travel Evanston, Ill., May 13 to take on Western Athletic Conference champion No. 62 Fresno State (11-13) at the Christie Tennis Center at 11 a.m. ET. Notre Dame (15-9) makes its 16th consecutive trip to the national tournament and 18th overall appearance. The Irish have reached the NCAA Round of 16 on 10 occasions and advanced at least to the quarterfinals five times. Last season, Notre Dame advanced to the semifinals for the second straight year. The No. 41 USF women are making their 10th NCAA appearance and their fifth under head coach Agustin Moreno. The Bulls (11-11) will face 23rd-ranked Texas (16-7) on May 13 at 10 a.m. ET at the Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Fla. This is the second straight trip to the NCAA tournament for USF. Last season, the Bulls advanced to the second round. The No. 24 Louisville men earned their third straight NCAA berth and their eighth overall selection and will take on Ivy League champion No. 42 Cornell in the first round May 13 at the Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky. The Cardinals (17-11) have the first match of the day in Lexington when they take on Cornell (26-4) at noon. Last season, UofL reached the round of 16 for the first time in program history. Louisville made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 1998. Since then the Cardinals returned to the NCAAs in 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. The 30th-ranked Irish men are making their eighth-straight and 19th overall NCAA Championship appearance. Notre Dame (17-11) will square off with Atlantic Sun Champion No. 55 East Tennessee State May 13 at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio, at 10 a.m. The teams faced each other in an identical situation in the 2008 NCAA Championship in Columbus. It was the first round of the NCAA tournament and in Columbus, Ohio. The then-30th ranked Irish dropped to the then-41st ranked Buccaneers in a 4-2 decision. Notre Dame has reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Championship on seven occasions. The winner of the second-round matches at each site will advance to Stanford, Calif., as Stanford University will play host to the final four rounds of the team tournament as well as the national championship draws for singles and doubles play from May 19-30.