Ducks Face Alabama in NCAA First Round
EUGENE, Ore. – In first-round action of the NCAA Championship, the Oregon men's tennis team takes on Alabama Saturday morning at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas. First serve is scheduled for 9 a.m. (PT). The Ducks are making their eighth NCAA appearance in program history and fifth under head coach Nils Schyllander.
"Our mindset all season has been one of an NCAA Tournament team," Schyllander said. "It's the level we play at and it's the level we expect, and it carries over to anyone coming into the program, as well. For the last five years, this has been the norm. The Ducks expect to play in the postseason."
Along with Oregon and Alabama, the Waco site also features Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (19-4) and No. 2 overall seed Baylor (29-4). The host Bears are the No. 1-ranked team in the country.
Oregon posted a 16-6 record during the 2021 dual season, and enter the national tournament off a 4-3 win over Utah in consolation play at the Pac-12 Tournament. In that match, senior Emmanuel Coste had the clinching point with a three-set win at No. 1 singles.
The Ducks are No. 37 in the latest Oracle ITA national rankings, a season-high spot for the team. Coste is one of five Oregon players with double-digit wins in singles play, paced by Jesper Klöv-Nilsson with a 17-3 record. No current UO player was part of the program's most recent NCAA appearance in 2018.
"This means so much to me," Coste said. "I'm not going to use my fifth year and last year was cut short so I'm really happy to get to play in the NCAA Tournament my senior year. All the little things and work we put in got us here."
In the national player rankings, Joshua Charlton and Quinn Vandecasteele are the No. 50 doubles team in the country. The UO pair is 9-3 this year with a 5-1 mark in conference play. Coste and Klöv-Nilsson have a team-high 12 wins as a doubles team this season.
Oregon in the NCAA Tournament
First Round: UCSB 4, Oregon 0
First Round: Fresno State 4, Oregon 0
First Round: Vanderbilt 4, Oregon 0
First Round: NC State 4, Oregon 2
First Round: Oregon 4, Tulsa 1
Second Round: Oklahoma 4, Oregon 2
First Round: Oregon 4, Memphis 2
Second Round: Texas A&M 4, Oregon 0
First Round: Oregon 4, Dartmouth 0
Second Round: TCU 4, Oregon 0
* - under head coach Nils Schyllander
Saturday's match will be just the third meeting between Oregon and Alabama. The teams split the two previous meetings with the Crimson Tide winning the first in 2006 and the Ducks taking the most recent, a 4-0 victory in 2015.
Alabama carries a 14-11 record into the NCAA Tournament; the Tide was 5-7 in SEC play. Ranked No. 26 in this week's ITA poll, has three top-70 players including No. 43 Edson Ortiz who earned a spot in the NCAA Singles Championship. In doubles play, Patrick Kaukovalta and Riccardo Roberto are the No. 23 team in the country.
For more news and information about the Ducks, follow @OregonMTennis on Instagram and Twitter, and @OregonMensTennis on Facebook.