Santa Clara Men's Tennis Grabs First Ever NCAA Tournament Bid; Play Texas at Stanford May 12

Santa Clara Men's Tennis Grabs First Ever NCAA Tournament Bid; Play Texas at Stanford May 12

At Stanford - All seats are general admission. Three-day all-session tickets are $18 (adult) and $12 (student/youth/senior). Single-day tickets are $7 (adult) and $5 (student/youth/senior). All-session tickets are available beginning at noon on Thursday, May 3, by calling 1-800-STANFORD or visiting Single-day tickets can be purchased on the day of competition at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. More information to come.

Check out the video on the Men Talking About the NCAA Tournament Bid.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Another first for Bronco Men's Tennis! The Santa Clara men's tennis team has achieved another milestone this season. For the first time in school history, the Bronco men's tennis program has received an NCAA Tournament bid. The Broncos will take on Texas at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. in their first match on Sat., May 12 at 9 am.

Santa Clara, who has notched all-time highs in ranking and an all-time best in school wins, will travel to Stanford University to take on Texas in the school's first ever NCAA tennis tournament bid. For the third consecutive season, head coach Derek Mills and the Broncos have finished second in the West Coast Conference standings behind Pepperdine, who is in the country's top-10.

"It's such a great accomplishment for the men's tennis team, I am really proud of all of them," said Mills. "We have had some adversity with injuries and worked through it.  I couldn't be more proud."

The bid ends a four-year transformation of a program that just a few years ago finished 4-16. Was this Coach Mills' plan when he took the job? "I knew we could do this, especially with our facility and the Santa Clara University campus and surroundings. We stayed patient and had a rough first two years. I had a plan in place and it worked. It's kind of crazy, but it worked and it happened. We were one spot away last year. We now want to make it every year. We want to push to make it every year. I expect that every year.  It should happen every year.  We expect this every year now."  

Is it equally satisfying knowing Kyle Dandan has been here with you from the start.  "It is really satisfying to do it with Kyle. We were 4-16 his freshman year, but he stayed patient," added Mills. "He has played his best tennis of his career in the last month. That's what you want as a head coach - you want your No. 1 guy to play his best at the end of his senior year. Kyle had some big wins over ranked guys and it was a really good push for this team. I am thrilled for him and really for the entire team.  It was a total team effort and I have to also thank my assistant coaches for all their help as well."

In the 2011-12 season, the Broncos posted a new all-time best in wins (21), an all-time high in the ITA Rankings (29), and had both a singles player and a doubles tandem ranked in the ITA rankings. Senior Kyle Dandan surged to a No. 78 in the singles rankings, which is a school best. Ilya Osintsev and John Lamble have been ranked as a doubles tandem since the tandem won the West Coast Conference Doubles Players of the Month award in March.

The Broncos' first-round opponent, the University of Texas-Austin, is No. 18 nationally. The Longhorns are 16-9 and fell to Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament.

Santa Clara and Texas have played three common opponents this year, San Diego, TCU and SMU. Santa Clara defeated SMU 7-0 and TCU 4-3, playing both matches on the road.  The Broncos split with conference foe San Diego, winning 4-3 at home in mid-April and then falling 5-2 in the WCC semi-finals. The Longhorns beat TCU 7-0 and SMU 5-2. Texas was defeated on its home courts by USD 4-1 in early March.

Texas will make its 30th appearance at the NCAA Championship.  UT scored its best finish at the NCAA Championship in 2008, when the Horns finished as the national runner-up after falling to Georgia in the NCAA title match. Texas holds a 41-29 overall record in its 29 previous NCAA Championship appearances.  Texas has reached the NCAA semifinals or better in three of the last six seasons (2006, 2008, 2009). 

"It's a great moment for the program," said Santa Clara University Athletic Director Dan Coonan. "You look where Coach Mills has taken the program in just four or five years and you can tell we are becoming a tennis school. Coach Mills is doing a great job and this program is just getting started with this bid. It is a really meaningful moment for this program."

Junior Tom Pham, who won 16 consecutive matches to begin the spring, posted a team-high 23 wins as the Broncos' No. 5 singles player. Pham recently was named to the All-WCC Academic Team for his outstanding efforts on the court and in the classroom.

Talking With 11-0 Tom Pham
February 28, 2012 Talking With 11-0 Tom Pham