May 10, 2011

Grove City tennis teams advancing to NCAAs

GROVE CITY, Pa. ' The Grove City College men's and women's tennis teams have both earned automatic berths in the upcoming NCAA Division III Championship Tournaments after capturing the respective Presidents' Athletic Conference championships during the regular season.

Both teams will compete in first-round matches later this week. The men's team will travel to Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., and will meet Elizabethtown in the opening round Friday. The women's tournament will begin Thursday as Grove City faces Albion at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.

Grove City's men's team is making its first trip to the NCAA Championship Tournament after receiving the PAC's first automatic berth in men's tennis. Grove City went 10-0 this spring after going 1-2 during the fall portion of the schedule.

The Wolverines won the conference title April 30 in Erie, Pa., by accumulating a perfect team score of 54 points. Senior Ricky Garrett (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky River) captured the conference's Most Valuable Performer award and head coach Joe Walters earned Coach of the Year.

Elizabethtown (13-5) earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Commonwealth Conference title April 30 with a 5-0 win over Lycoming. The Blue Jays opened the season 3-4 but closed the season by winning 10 of 11. Elizabethtown went 6-0 in conference play this year.

Grove City and Elizabethtown are two of the five teams comprising the weekend's tournament. The Grove City-Elizabethtown winner will advance to Saturday's regional semifinal to play Emory. Emory (20-3) received a bye. The other semifinal pits host Washington & Lee (15-3) and North Carolina Wesleyan (12-2). The semifinal winners will play Sunday.

Emory and North Carolina Wesleyan both reached the national quarterfinals in 2010. Washington & Lee lost to Emory in the regional final last season.

The Grove City women's tennis team is making its third consecutive trip to the national tournament after winning the conference title with 50 team points October 23. That marked Grove City's 24th straight conference title.

The Wolverines (14-3) are 1-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Grove City downed Webster (Mo.) in the opening round, 5-1, before falling to host Chicago in the second round, 5-0. In 2009, Grove City fell to Agnes Scott in the opening round, 5-4.

Albion captured the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title April 30 with a 5-3 victory over Hope. The Britons (14-3) also appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008, going 2-4 in that span.

The Grove City-Albion match is one of two matches that will be played Thursday at DePauw. Baldwin-Wallace and Wheaton (Ill.) will meet in the other regional quarterfinal. The Grove City-Albion winner will meet Denison (16-4) in one semifinal Friday. Host DePauw (13-9) will play either Baldwin-Wallace or Wheaton in the other Friday semifinal.

The two semifinal winners will then play Saturday. B-W, Denison, DePauw, Grove City and Wheaton all competed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, with Denison advancing to the national quarterfinals.

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