The NC State women’s tennis team will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history at J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center on Saturday and Sunday.
The Pack, currently ranked at No. 12, went 22-6 overall this season with an 11-3 ACC record and will face VCU on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the first round. The second-round matchup is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. against the winner of Furman and Tennessee.
Head coach Simon Earnshaw, 2019 ACC Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year, will prepare his squad for an 18-5 VCU team that is 0-2 against ranked opponents this year, a 4-0 loss to No. 1 UNC-Chapel Hill and a 4-1 loss to No. 37 Old Dominion.
“We are starting against Virginia Commonwealth,” Earnshaw told NC State Athletics. “I know that’s going to be a tough match. They just clinched the [Atlantic 10] title [Saturday] … So I know we’re not going to be in for an easy time at all there. On the other side, Furman and Tennessee, both teams we’re pretty familiar with and we’ve played in recent years.”
VCU won the Atlantic 10 tournament handily, going through three rounds without dropping a point, going 12-0 combined over Saint Louis, Davidson and Richmond. The Rams will certainly have the momentum as NC State fell in the ACC quarterfinal to Miami in its last match on April 19.
NC State is capable of going a long way into the NCAAs this season, hoping to improve on a first-round exit last season. It has seven ranked ACC wins this season against No. 21 Virginia, No. 42 Boston College, No. 48 Notre Dame, No. 19 Miami, No. 31 Syracuse, No. 22 Wake Forest and No. 39 Georgia Tech.
The Wolfpack also collected a number of strong nonconference wins over No. 49 Mississippi State, No. 23 Florida, No. 26 Texas Tech and No. 44 Utah to put the cherry on top of an impressive run this year.
Of its six losses, four of them have been against ACC opponents in No. 1 UNC-Chapel Hill, No. 10 Florida State, No. 4 Duke and No. 19 Miami. The other two are against the high-level nonconference opponents of No. 2 Georgia and No. 11 Washington.
NC State hasn’t lost to a team outside of the current top-20 programs in the nation, setting itself up for a successful weekend at home where it holds a 13-2 record this season.