The 2016 NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Tennis Championships begin on Wednesday at the Gates Tennis Center and Metro State University in Denver, Colorado, as a part of the DII Spring Sports Festival.
Action begins at 8:00 a.m. on the women’s side and features one Top 10 matchup as the only unbeaten team in the field, top-ranked BYU-Hawaii (22-0) faces No. 9-ranked Columbus State (21-6). The 11:00 a.m. matches feature a Top 5 showdown as defending national champion and No. 3-ranked Armstrong State (28-1) faces No. 5-ranked Lynn (28-3).
There is one unranked team in the field among the Round of 16 in Concordia (NY) (12-6). There are no first-time qualifiers to the Round of 16 this year but one team to keep an eye on is No. 2-ranked Saint Leo (21-2) - the Lions are making their second NCAA Round of 16 appearance in school history and in their first trip in 2014, Saint Leo advanced to the semifinals with wins over BYU-Hawaii and California (Pa.).
Men's action begins at 2:00 p.m., with the highest spotlight match features No. 3-ranked Hawaii Pacific (17-3) against No. 4-ranked Lander (19-5) taking place on the campus of Metro State. The final matches of the day begin at 5:00 p.m. with both top-ranked Saint Leo (24-1) facing No. 15-ranked Cameron (16-4) as well as No. 2-ranked Armstrong State (24-2) in action against unranked Edinboro (23-3).
Defending national champion Barry did not qualify for the Round of 16 meaning we will have a new DII men’s tennis champion crowned in Denver. No. 35-ranked Ferris State (23-4) punched its ticket to Denver and the Round of 16 for the first time since 2005 - thanks to a clinching singles win by appropriately-named freshman Til von Winning.
Seven schools are represented in the Round of 16 with both men's and women's teams - Armstrong State, Cameron, Concordia (NY), Hawai'i Pacific, Indianapolis, NYIT and Saint Leo. If Cameron can pick up a win in the Round of 16 with either men’s or women’s tennis team, head coach James Helvey will achieve his 800th career head coaching victory.