For the second straight year, the University of Miami men’s tennis team heads to the University of Florida’s Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville for the first round of the NCAA tournament.
This time around, the 22nd-ranked Canes will face No. 53 Columbia on Friday, May 8.
It marks the fourth straight appearance for the Hurricanes (14-8), who have gone 3-3 under fifth-year head coach Mario Rincon. On the season, UM won eight of its last 10 matches and went 9-2 in ACC play to finish the regular season in second place in a conference that sends seven teams into the tournament.
“We are really excited to be back in the NCAA tournament,” Rincon said. “We are looking forward to playing a really good team in Columbia. We’re back in Gainesville again this year and we are hoping to play our best match of the year.”
Columbia (16-5) won its second Ivy League championship in three seasons with a 6-1 conference mark, and rides a three-match win streak. Junior Jon Wong leads the Lions with a 24-12 singles record, including a 10-5 mark in the first position.
Miami will make its 44th tournament appearance and its 25th since 1977, and leads the all-time series against Columbia, 3-2. Both teams shared one common opponent this season as the Hurricanes swept Penn, 7-0, on Feb. 8, and the Lions defeated the Quakers, 5-2, on April 17.
The host Gators (17-8), seeded 10th in the NCAA tournament for the second straight season, will take on Marist (12-3).
Four-time All-American and four-time All-ACC selection Daniel Vallverdu, who missed the first half of the season with a pectoral strain, has climbed his way to No. 12 in the nation in singles play. He and fellow senior David Rosenfeld rank 41st in doubles.
Sophomore Keith Crowley, who has won seven matches in a row, and freshman Ignacio Taboada, who has a string of six consecutive victories, added 22 singles wins apiece for the Hurricanes. All-ACC sophomore Carl Sundberg went 19-6, including a 9-1 mark in conference play.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing in the NCAA tournament,” sophomore Christian Blocker said. “After starting the season a little slow, we really got into it and put together a strong second half of the season. I’m really happy.”
Miami vs. Columbia, May 8
Florida vs. Marist, May 8
Winners of round 1 matches