KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 14, 2010) - With the wait over and practices behind them the third-seeded ETSU men's tennis team will swing into its eighth NCAA Tournament Saturday as the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Champion takes on second-seeded Alabama at 9 a.m. at Barksdale Stadium on the University of Tennessee campus.
ETSU (15-7) enters the championship after winning its last eight matches, including a 4-2 victory over league-rival Stetson April 17 to clinch the school's fourth consecutive league title. Overall, the Bucs, who played one of the toughest schedules in the nation, travel to Knoxville winners of 13 out of their last 14 contests.
Individually, sophomore Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium), junior Charles Bottoni (Bois Guillaume, France) and senior Daniel Isaza (Medellin, Columbia) are expected to lead the way for the experienced Bucs.
Gille -- the 2010 A-Sun Tennis Player of the Year and A-Sun Tournament MVP -- leads ETSU in total wins this season while Bottoni - who returned from an injury midway through the season -- became only the third player in school history to earn a berth in the NCAA Singles Championship.
Finally, Isaza - who will make a record fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament -- will be counted on again after the senior captain closed out Stetson with his singles win to give ETSU its fourth straight trip to the Big Dance.
Alabama (13-13), who will make its 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, travels to Tennessee after earning an automatic bid into the Big Dance. Like the Buccaneers, the Crimson Tide is battle tested after playing 20 matches against nationally ranked teams this spring.
In fact, head coach Billy Pate's squad topped seven ITA ranked teams, which helped propel Alabama to a top-40 rankings since the season began in January.
Individually, the Crimson Tide is led by senior Saketh Mynemi. The No. 22 ranked singles player in the country finished with a 16-6 dual match record, while going 7-3 against SEC opponents.
ETSU is 1-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. ETSU's lone win came as the third-seeded Bucs topped second-seeded Norte Dame 4-2 in 2007. Last season ETSU fell in the first-round of the Knoxville Regional against top-seed Tennessee, 4-0.
For more information on the ETSU men's tennis team and its student-athletes please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.