After Tuesday, the No.21 Lady Raiders can add another
accomplishment to their already long list from this season – NCAA
For the first time in Texas Tech women’s tennis program
history the Lady Raiders have earned a berth in the 2012 NCAA Championships and
are bound for Coral Gables, Florida to play in the Miami Regional.
“It was an exciting day, and a long wait for this program,”
Tech women’s tennis head coach Todd Petty said. “Glad to see that wait finally
end and see our name pop up on that line.”
In the first round, the Lady Raiders (19-5) have drawn a
match against No. 39 Utah, who served Tech one of its five losses earlier this
The Utes (11-10), who finished seventh in the Pac-12
Conference, took down the Lady Raiders in a close match, 4-3, in Las Vegas, at
the time snapping a six-game winning streak for Tech.
“They’re a solid team, their a scary first round match, but
I guess everybody is at this point,” Petty said. “I like that we are playing a
team we are familiar with.”
In the all-time series the Utes lead 3-2.
Having already played this team gives a slight advantage,
Petty said, despite the match ending in a loss for the Lady Raiders.
“I think so, especially playing a team and losing in the way
we lost, in a tight match,” he said. “The girls are going to feel comfortable,
they’re not going to feel the pressure of hey we’ve got to defend something
that we’ve already won. They’re going to be able to come in and say hey this is
a blemish on our record early in the year and it’s something they can fight to
get off and give themself an opportunity against a very good Miami team.”
If the Lady Raiders are able to get past the Utes, it will
be the winner of the North Florida (16-4) and host 10th-seeded Miami
(FL) (17-4) matchup.
This will be new territory for the Lady Raiders considering
they have never faced either the Hurricanes or the Ospreys in program history.
With just more than a week to get ready for the start of the
tournament, Petty said there is a lot that goes into this week including more
than just work on the tennis court.
“We’re going to have to take this week, especially, a little
bit cautiously, the girls are having to take finals early so we’re going to
have to cut down a little bit and try put in a lot of work in a short amount of
time,” he said. “It’s important for me right now to make sure they’re studying,
and getting on the books and getting everything done academically so they can
get prepared to go.”
The Lady Raiders will open play in the 2012 NCAA
Championships on May 11 with the first match of the regional with first serve
set for 10 a.m. at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.