SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Placed in a pool consisting of some of the nation's best, the Santa Clara men's tennis team is guaranteed to face UNC Wilmington among others in next year's 2015 ITA Kick-Off Event.
After the conclusion of Wednesday's selection draft, Santa Clara was placed in a four-team pool consisting of competitors from UNC Wilmington in addition to the University of Southern California and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The four teams will begin competition on January 23 in Southern California on USC's home court. The No. 3 seeded Broncos will take on the No. 2 seeded Seahawks from UNC Wilmington at 10 a.m. while the Trojans, the No. 1 seed in the pool and the Rajin' Cajuns, the No. 3 seed, will battle it out at 1 p.m. The winners of both of those matches will go on to face each other the following afternoon at 3 p.m. in the championship match. The losers will take the courts at 6 p.m. for the consolation match.
If Santa Clara is able to win both of their matches, they will qualify to play at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship which is scheduled to run between February 13 and February 16.
In their first scheduled match, Santa Clara will square off against UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks finished this past season as the No. 50 ranked team in the country after tallying 15 wins and earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. During their campaign, the Seahawks knocked off a host of nationally ranked squads including an impressive 7-0 shutout against Elon University and resounding 5-2 victories over Georgia State, UCF and East Carolina.
Depending on the result of that opening round match, the Broncos could face either USC or Louisiana-Lafayette the following day.
The Trojans have been kings of collegiate tennis in recent time. Come January, they will be coming off a national championship season in which they finished as the No. 1 team in the ITA rankings and hoisted the coveted piece of championship hardware for the 21st time in program history, a national record. During the past six seasons, USC has had a stranglehold on the national field, racking up five national championships in the last six years of play. USC rolled to an overall record of 32-3 and 7-0 mark in the highly-competitive Pac-12 in 2013-14.
The Broncos could also face Louisiana-Lafayette if the Rajin' Cajuns pull off the upset over USC. Louisiana-Lafayette rounded out the 2013-14 season as the No. 63 ranked team in the ITA standings. The squad amassed a record of 20-5 overall this past season.
In last season's competition, the Broncos challenged then-No. 4 USC and No. 64 Georgia State. Doing battle with the Trojans, Santa Clara fell 4-0 in the end. The following afternoon, the Broncos rallied to pick up a 4-0 victory in the consolation match. That win against the Panthers from Georgia State would be the first of eight consecutive victories that Santa Clara would tally during a month and a half of play.
The Broncos were able to earn a spot in this prestigious competition by finishing as a top-64 team in 2013-14. During that season, the Broncos went 17-7 and finished with an ITA ranking of 56 overall.