WILMINGTON, North Carolina – One day after the UNCW men’s tennis team officially secured its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years, three individuals – Rafael Aita, Kosta Blank and Chris Cooprider - have been invited to compete in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships singles and doubles brackets.

        The NCAA conducts a team championship from May 10-21, featuring 64 schools, and also has a singles and doubles tournament with 64 individuals and 32 doubles teams from May 22-27 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.

        It marks the first time the Seahawks have had players invited to play in the NCAA’s postseason singles and doubles brackets.

        Aita, a junior from Lima, Peru, has been ranked throughout the season and is the top-rated singles player in the CAA at No. 53. He owns a 15-5 singles record this spring and was named First-Team All-CAA and 2013 CAA Player-of-the-Year.

        Aita defeated No. 27 Mac Styslinger of Virginia, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (9), and No. 31 Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, 6-3, 6-4, in the Virginia Ranked+1 Invitational in late September and knocked off South Carolina’s Tsvetan Mihov, ranked 35th, by a 7-6 (7), 7-6 (2) score on Feb. 20 in Columbia.

        Blank (Winnipeg, Canada) and Cooprider (Denver, Colo.), meanwhile, are ranked 27th nationally in doubles with a 12-4 record at the No. 1 position this spring. A First-Team All-CAA selection, the tandem has won eight of its last 10 matches. The pair defeated third-ranked Styslinger and Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia, 8-6, in the Virginia Ranked+1 Invitational in September and lost a tough matchup to No. 2 Raphael Hemmeier and Henrique Cunha of Duke in the doubles final of the USTA/ITA Carolina Regional Championship in Cary, N.C.

        In the team tourney, the No. 53 Seahawks, 18-4, face No. 17 South Carolina on May 10 in Durham in a first-round matchup at Amblin Tennis Center.

        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).