Johnson City, Tenn. (May 10, 2002) — East Tennessee State will make its second appearance in the NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament on Saturday at 3 p.m. as they face No. 13-ranked Auburn in the first round of the tournament from the Luther Young Tennis Complex from Auburn, Ala.
The Buccaneers have posted a 17-7 record so far this season, culminating with a trip to the NCAA Tournament with a win over Furman in the Southern Conference Championship match. ETSU cruised through the SoCon schedule, going 9-1 with its only blemish a 7-0 loss at Furman that was much closer than the final score indicated. Two of the doubles matches were decided by one point and four of the six singles matches were decided in three sets.
Going into the SoCon Tournament as the No. 2 seed, ETSU swept by Davidson in the first round 4-0, before gutting out a 4-3 win over UNC Greensboro. ETSU then clinched its SoCon title, and a bit of revenge, by topping Furman, 4-2. The Paladins took the doubles point, but ETSU came back to take four of five singles matches for the win.
Auburn will be another in a list of highly-regarded opponents that the Bucs have faced this season. ETSU has squared off against seven teams that were ranked in the ITA poll, with the Buccaneers recording a 3-4 record.
ETSU last made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1999 after winning their fourth Southern Conference Tournament Championship over Chattanooga.
The Bucs drew another Southeastern Conference opponent, 13th ranked Kentucky, in the first round of the 1999 NCAA Tournament from the Hilary Boone Outdoor Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky. The Buccaneers played well in the dual match, but fell to the Wildcats, 4-0.
The Wildcats won the doubles point and then swept three singles matches in straight sets. Wildcat senior Patrik Johansson earned a 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 victory over ETSU's Regis Grouard, and Johan Grunditz defeated Buccaneer Ignacio Perez 6-3, 6-1 at No. 5 singles. Gustav Pousette clinched the match with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over ETSU's Juan Yannuzzi.
The only current Buccaneer competed in the 1999 NCAA Tournament was senior captain Roberto Fernandez. He competed against Edo Bawono at No. 4 singles, but the match was not completed.