WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Colonial Athletic Association men’s tennis champion UNCW, ranked 53rd in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll, will face No. 17 South Carolina in Durham, N.C., when the NCAA Regionals get under way on May 10.

        The Seahawks, 18-4, enter NCAA play as one of the nation’s hottest teams with a 10-match winning streak. The Seahawks are making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five years, including three as Colonial Athletic Association champions (2009, 2011, 2013).

        Pairings for the 64-team bracket were announced Tuesday during a special selection show on www.NCAA.com. First and second-round competition will be conducted May 10-11, with the winner of each site advancing to the championships at the University of Illinois in Urbana. The team championship will be held May 16-21.

        “We’re really looking forward to it,” said sixth-year UNCW Head Coach Mait DuBois. The Seahawks and Gamecocks battle at 10 a.m. at Ambler Tennis Stadium.  “Every year our preparation gets a little better and it’s just the next step for our program.”

        UNCW is seeking its first NCAA Tournament victory. The Seahawks made their post-season debut on May 8, 2009, and fell to No. 26 Virginia Tech, 4-2, in Athens. The Seahawks then dropped a 4-1 decision to No. 23 Auburn on May 13, 2011, in Athens before a 4-1 setback to No. 17 Tennessee last May in Chapel Hill.

        UNCW has already faced six nationally-ranked teams this season, fashioning a 2-4 record against the group. The Seahawks lost to #12 Florida, #48 South Carolina, #35 N.C. State and #20 Clemson and defeated #53 South Alabama and #68 Old Dominion.

        UNCW and USC will be joined in Durham by the host Blue Devils, ranked ninth nationally, and Coastal Carolina. Duke will be the top seed at the site, followed by South Carolina, UNCW and Coastal.

        “It’s nice to get to play someone you’ve already seen once,” DuBois continued. “We had chances in every match earlier with them and I know where we need to make some strides, so it’s a nice matchup for us.”

        UNCW played six teams that made the NCAA Tournament (Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Georgia State, N.C. State and South Carolina) during the regular season, compiling a 2-4 record against the group. The results include a narrow 4-3 loss to the Gamecocks on Feb. 20 in Columbia.

        The Seahawks climbed as high as No. 37 (Feb. 19) in the ITA rankings. Sophomore Rafael Aita is currently rated 53rd in singles and 51st in doubles with Sam Williams. UNCW’s top doubles team of Kosta Blank and Chris Cooprider is rated No. 27.

        UNCW is one of four CAA teams to compile a 13-23 career scorecard in the NCAA Tennis Regionals. Six Seahawks bring NCAA Tournament experience to the USC match. Aita, Blank, Cooprider, Zach Hubltiz, Pedro Mol and Kaue Pereira have all competed in the NCAA’s.

        The teams will play a single-elimination tournament at the NCAA’s 16 first- and second-round sites (four teams at each site) and the final site (16-team bracket) to determine the national champion. The matches will be regulation dual matches with three eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight games all in doubles and at six games all in singles.

UNCW’s NCAA Tennis History

2009  CAA Champions   #26 Virginia Tech 4, #58 UNCW 2           05-08-09/Athens, Ga.
2011  CAA Champions   #23 Auburn 4, #39 UNCW 1                    05-12-11/Athens, Ga.
2012  At-Large Entry      #17 Tennessee 4, #44 UNCW 1               05-12-12/Chapel Hill, N.C.
2013  CAA Champions   #17 South Carolina Vs. #53 UNCW         05-10-13/Durham, N.C.