WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Players from six other schools will join host UNCW this weekend when Coach Mait DuBois and the men’s tennis team stages the UNCW Invitational at Empie Park’s Althea Gibson Tennis Center.

The Seahawks, ranked 43rd in the final 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, are making their first appearance of the fall season in the event, which runs Friday through Sunday. Overall, UNCW will compete in seven tournaments before the semester break.

“We’re very excited to start the fall season and always love to play here in Wilmington,” said DuBois, the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Coach-of-the-Year. “It’s a special situation where we get to work with one of our local tennis clubs and connect with fans in the local tennis community.

“Tari Ann Toro and her staff are very generous to allow us to host this event and it’s a pleasure to play at one of the best public tennis facilities in North Carolina. We always get a great turnout when we play at the Althea Gibson Tennis Center and we’re looking forward to a great event.”

Play begins at 9:30 a.m. each day and the Seahawks will be competing against players from East Carolina, Liberty, New Mexico, UT-Chattanooga, North Carolina Central and VCU. Three of the teams – VCU (#30), UNCW (#43) and New Mexico (#72) – finished last year ranked in the top-75 by the ITA.

The tourney’s format features two doubles brackets and four singles draws. The doubles finals will be held Sunday morning, with the singles championships to follow.

UNCW’s Rafael Aita and Sam Williams, ranked 33rd in the 2013 final poll, are the No. 1 seed in the A Doubles bracket and ECU’s Frederic Lehfelt and Damien Brenard are set as the top seeds in the B Doubles draw.

In singles, the top seeds are Aita (A Singles), UNCW’s Zach Hublitz (B Singles), Liberty’s Sergio Mourelo (C Singles) and UTC’s Derrick Brown (D Singles). Aita wound up ranked No. 52 last year and earned a berth in the NCAA Singles Championship in Champaign-Urbana, Ill.

There is no admission at the 19-court facility and plenty of parking is available.