All-division preview: No. 1 Virginia leads a loaded field at ITA nationals
HOUSTON -- Top-ranked Virginia is the top seed at this week's ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which will be held Feb. 14-17 at two sites in Houston. The event, which features the top 16 teams in the nation, is being hosted by Texas A&M at the Downtown Club at the Met and the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club.
The top-seeded Cavaliers (4-0) open play Friday against No, 16 seed Notre Dame.
Virginia is the reigning ITA National Team Indoor champions and have won the tournament five of the past six years. The Cavaliers became the first team to win four consecutive championships (2008-11) and captured their fifth title last year in Seattle. Only Stanford (12 titles) and UCLA (seven) have more indoor championships than Virginia during the previous 39 years of the tournament.
The Cavaliers, who own the nation's longest active win streak at 34 matches, head to Texas two victories shy of the school-record 36-match win streak in 2010. Virginia posted shutout victories against Elon and Indiana in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to advance to Houston. The Cavaliers also have posted wins against Boston College and Navy this season.
The other first-round matches are:
No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 Duke, No. 3 Southern California vs. No. 14 Tennessee, No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 13 Texas, No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Florida, No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Illinois, No. 8 California vs. No. 9 Mississippi State.
In Division II, West Florida takes on a pair of ranked opponents in No. 23 West Alabama and No. 36 Alabama-Huntsville. ... In what looks to be the biggest match of the weekend, No. 4 Lynn faces No. 8 Saint Leo on Sunday. ... Fifth-ranked Hawaii Pacific plays matches on consecutive days against UC Santa Barbara and then UC San Diego. ... Other Saturday matches include Lander against Limestone, Armstrong Atlantic against Georgia Southwestern and Columbus State against North Georgia.
Division III's Emory has a busy Friday, facing off against Auburn-Montgomery and Oglethorpe. ... Trinity (Texas) also has a doubleheader, squaring off versus Mary-Hardin Baylor and Northwestern State on Saturday. ... Fith-ranked Kenyon continues the doubleheader theme with matches against Wisconsin-Whitewater and Earlham on Saturday. ... By comparison, No. 4 Washington (Mo.) has a light weekend with only DePauw on Sunday.