Chants draw No. 9 Duke in first NCAA tourney bid

The Coastal Carolina men’s tennis team earned its first NCAA Regional bid in the program’s history on Tuesday as the Chanticleers were selected to the face the ninth-ranked Duke Blue Devils in the first round, which will be played on May 10 at the Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, N.C.

“We thought we were going to get Duke or Georgia, and it turned out to be Duke,” said head coach Chris Powers. “Duke is one of the perennial teams in the national rankings, they are ranked in the top 10 in the national rankings right now, and we’re just excited to go up there and play on a national stage.”

The Chanticleers earned the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regional after posting a perfect 8-0 conference record, earning the top seed in the Big South tournament and winning three tournament matches to claim the conference’s title. It was the first Big South tournament title for Coastal since 1994, and the first under the direction of Powers.

Coastal will make its first NCAA Regional appearance riding a 10-match winning streak that extends back to March 21 at Presbyterian College. It is the Chants’ longest win streak since they began the 2009 season with nine consecutive victories.

Duke enters the NCAA tournament ranked ninth in the nation with a 22-5 overall record. The Blue Devils earned the second seed in the ACC tournament with a 10-1 conference record, but were ousted in the semifinals by Wake Forest. Two of the Blue Devils’ doubles pairs are ranked in the top 25, and three of their singles players are ranked in the top 75 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Besides Duke, the NCAA Regional will feature two other skilled teams in South Carolina and UNC Wilmington, who will square off against each other on May 10. UNC Wilmington boasts an 18-4 overall record, and defeated the Chanticleers 7-0 back in February. The Seahawks were ranked 39th when the teams met, and are currently ranked 53rd by the ITA. South Carolina has an 18-10 record, and is ranked 17th by the ITA.

A total of 64 teams will compete in the 2013 NCAA Division I Team Championships. The first and second rounds will be played on May 10 and 11.

– Photo by Joel Beachum

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