2013 NAIA Tennis National Championships Preview
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – First serve at the 2013 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Tennis National Championships will take place Tuesday (May 14) at 9 a.m. CDT when the first round of the men’s championships get underway. The women’s first round is slated to begin at 1 p.m. that same day.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of 18 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting the championship match on May 18. Streaming of the championship match will be free. For more information and to pre-register, click here. For more information on the National Championships, click here, for the men's and click here, for the women's.
On the men’s side, top-ranked Embry-Riddle (Fla.), is looking for its first-ever national title. The Eagles enjoyed a 20-2 regular season, in which they placed No. 1 in six of the eight polls and have won 18-consecutive matches, dating back to March 5. Deni Zmak, the third ranked tennis player by Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), leads the Eagles with an 18-1 record this season. Zmak and teammate Chris Freeman form the top ranked doubles team in the nation with a 9-1 record. Embry-Riddle will face the winner of Northwestern Ohio and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) on Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Second-seeded, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), is looking to for its 10th title and first since 2010. The Warhawks are led by ITA top ranked No. 1 Nicolas Pinones-Haltenhoff. Pinones-Haltenhoff is 18-1 on the season and 15-1 playing No. 1 singles for Auburn Montgomery. The Warhawks hold a 37-6 record in the national championship. Auburn Montgomery will open play on Wednesday at 9 a.m. against the winner of Northwood (Fla.) and Graceland (Iowa) in second-round action.
Making its 14th appearance, the most of any school in the field, is Embry-Riddle (Fla.). The Eagles have made the field every single year since the championship moved to a team format in 2000. Auburn Montgomery, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and Vanguard are making their 13th appearance overall. Nine schools will be appearing at the national championship for at least the 10th time since 2000. Eighteen of the 24 qualifiers also made the field in 2012.
Two teams will be making their first trip to the national championship, Doane (Neb.) and Northwestern Ohio. Besides Auburn Montgomery, the only teams that have won a national championship are Mobile (Ala.) (2) and Belhaven (Miss.) (1.). A total of seven teams will be seeking their first wins on the National Championship stage.
On the women’s side, second-seeded and defending champion Auburn Montgomery takes aim at its 13th national title in school history and headlines the 24-team field. Junior Jade Curtis, 19-0 at No. 1 singles this season, returns to lead the Warhawks. Curtis was the Marvin P. Richmond Outstanding Player in 2011. Auburn Montgomery awaits the winner between SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) and Cumberland (Tenn.) Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Xavier (La.) enters the national championship as the top-seed, earned its first No. 1 ranking in school history this year, is also looking for its first national championship. The Gold Nuggets are led by the No. 6 singles player in the ITA rankings, Kourtney Howell. Howell teams with t Brion Flowers to have the top ranked No. 1 doubles team by ITA. Xavier awaits the winner of Indiana Wesleyan and Coastal Georgia in the second round.
Brenau (Ga.) (2), Mobile (Ala.) (1) and Northwood (Fla.) (1) are the only other teams in the field who hold national championships. Auburn Montgomery also tops the field with a 49-3 record in the championship play.
Auburn Montgomery and Indiana Wesleyan are making their 14th appearance, the most out of any team in the field. Auburn Montgomery has the most national championships with 12. A total of seven schools will be appearing at the national championships for at least the 10th time since 2000. Fourteen of the 24 qualifiers return to the championship after appearing last season.
On the other hand, five squads will make their first-ever appearance at the National Championships: Coastal Georgia, Davenport (Mich.), Evangel (Mo.), Oklahoma Baptist and SCAD Atlanta. A total of seven teams will be seeking their first wins on the National Championship stage.
The Championships will culminate with men’s and women’s title matches on Saturday (May 18). First serve is set for 9 a.m. for the men and 1 p.m. for the women.