2012 C-USA Championship Action Set
April 18, 2012
IRVING, Texas - The 2012 Conference USA Men's Tennis Championship is set to get underway on Thursday, April 19 at the UCF Tennis Complex in Orlando, Fla. The four-day, nine-team event is being hosted on the campus of UCF for the second time in the past four years (2009). Admission is free for all matches, including the Fox Sports Network Championship match on Sunday, April 22 at Noon ET.
Host UCF (9-12) has earned the No. 9 seed and will face No. 8 East Carolina (13-10) to open tournament play on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET. The winner of the matchup between the Knights and Pirates will face top-seed and No. 23 Tulsa (15-8) in quarterfinal action Friday at 8 a.m. Memphis, Rice and UAB round out the top four seeds in tournament play, respectively.
Defending tournament champion Tulsa looks to pick up its sixth C-USA Tournament title in Orlando. The Golden Hurricane own the league's highest national ITA ranking of No. 23 and sport two singles players and a pair of double teams among the ITA Top 100. Headlining this core is 2011 All-C-USA first teamers Ashley Watling and Clifford Marsland. Watling, a senior, is ranked 85th in the ITA, followed by Marsland, a junior, at No. 94. The two have teamed up to form the ITA's No. 9 doubles pair as they own a 16-5 spring record. Of the 13 C-USA Male Tennis Athletes of the Week awards this year, Tulsa collected a league-best eight.
Fourth-seed UAB will go against No. 5 seed Tulane at 11 a.m. ET. The Blazers downed the Green Wave, 4-1, at the Conference USA Shootout on March 31. The Blazers (16-8) are ranked No. 65 nationally but will enter this weekend's tournament having lost four consecutive matches to ranked opponents. UAB dropped decisions last week to Middle Tennessee, Alabama, South Alabama and Memphis. Tulane (12-10) has also played a challenging schedule and comes into the Friday match with its last two losses to No. 26 Tulsa and No. 33 Middle Tennessee.
Friday's afternoon session gets underway with No. 2 seed Memphis (17-4) challenging No. 7 seed Southern Miss (9-14) at 2 p.m. ET. Memphis concluded the regular-season with its highest victory total (17) since the Tigers won 18 matches in 2002. The successful season has the Tigers ranked 33rd in the country, placing them second in the conference behind Tulsa. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season and in all-time tournament play. The Golden Eagles have dropped four of their last five matches but did beat East Carolina, 4-1, in league play.
Day two wraps up with No. 3 seed Rice (17-8) facing No. 6 seed SMU (9-10). Historically, this match-up has occurred in the semi-finals of tournament play as the two have faced off four times in the semis since joining the league in 2005. Rice won all four matches.
The Owls own a No. 47 ITA ranking and closed out the 2012 regular season with a 4-2 win over UT-Arlington. In league play, Rice defeated Memphis, 5-2, Tulane, 4-3 and SMU, 4-3. Only Tulsa was able to derail the Owls, 6-1. Rice has won eight of its last 11 matches while SMU has won five of its final 11 outings.
Live scoring and match results for the matches will be available on the Championship Central page on Conference USA's website (conferenceusa.com).
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C-USA MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONS
2012 C-USA MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
FIRST ROUND - Thursday, April 19
QUARTERFINALS - Friday, April 20
SEMIFINALS - Saturday, April 21
CHAMPIONSHIP - Sunday, April 22