CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois men’s and women’s tennis teams are both heading to their respective NCAA tournaments. They watched the selection show on Tuesday afternoon at the Bielfeldt Building, the men got there just in time to see their name pop up on the screen, running over from Atkins after practice.
“I’m excited,” Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said. “Anytime we’re playing in the NCAA tournament and have the chance to play on our home court in front of our fans, nothing but to be excited about.”
Illinois will face Marquette in its opening match, then either play Drake or Vanderbilt, with a win.
“It’s huge,” Illinois senior Aleks Vukic said about playing at home. “We usually get a very good crowd, the community always comes together for the NCAA tournament, it’s so much fun to play in Atkins, I’ve done it twice before and it’s been maybe one of the highlights of my career here.”
The Illinois women are heading to Lubbock, Texas for their opening weekend of the tourney. The Illini will face Princeton in the first round, then await either the host or Army. It’s the first appearance in the NCAA’s since 2012.
“We’re super excited,” Illinois junior Jaclyn Switkes said. “Seeing our name up there on the selection show, it’s been a long time coming and just to see it up there is great. We have a great opportunity ahead of us.”
“I’m really proud of the team for getting back in the tournament,” Illinois head coach Evan Clark said. “I think we were really close to hosting so I think we’re one of the best two seeds out there so we’re really excited to host Princeton in the first round and hopefully have a shot at Texas Tech the second round.”
Both the men’s and women’s tournaments start next weekend, May 11th.