Warriors travel to Alabama for NAIA tennis championships

Head coach Mark Basham will take his eighth-ranked Westmont men’s tennis team (11-9) to Mobile, Alabama for the third time in as many years. In Mobile, the Warriors will participate in the 61st NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship as the tournament’s number eight seed.

Westmont received a first round bye and is scheduled to open play in the second round on Wednesday, May 16 at 1:00 p.m. (CDT). The Warriors will take on the winner of Tuesday’s match between number nine seed William Carey (Miss.) and number 24 seed Graceland (Iowa). All matches will be played at the Mobile Tennis Center

The field of 24-teams includes six from the Golden State Athletic Conference, the most from any one conference. In addition to Westmont, the GSAC is represented by #1 Fresno Pacific, #4 Azusa Pacific, #6 Vanguard, #10 Point Loma Nazarene and #12 Concordia.

The Warriors have reached the quarterfinals in each of the two previous seasons. In 2010, Westmont defeated Graceland 5-4 in the second round, and then was eliminated in the quarterfinals with a 5-1 loss to Fresno Pacific. In 2011, the Warriors defeated Shorter (Ga.) 5-1 to advance to the quarterfinals were they suffered a narrow 5-4 loss to Auburn Montgomery (Ala.).

This will be the sixteenth trip to the national championship in Warrior history. The program’s best finish was third in 1997 when the tournament was played as a singles bracket and a doubles bracket. In that season, two Warriors faced each other in the singles championship match with Riva DaSilva defeating Ashley Fickel for the national title.

In 2000 the tournament switched to a team format. This is the Warriors’120 fourth visit to the national championship under that format. Westmont brings a national tournament record of 3-3 into the 2012 championship.

Weather could prove a factor in this year’s tournament. Scattered thunder showers are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday with partial cloudy skies called for on Thursday. High temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s.

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