May 5, 2004
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CLEMSON, SC – The Clemson women’s tennis team will play host to the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Team Championships for the first time in school history. The Tigers are the tournament’s fifth seed and will face Troy State at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. ACC rival Wake Forest and in-state SEC foe South Carolina will face off in the other half of the Tigers’ draw on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Saturday’s winners will play in the second round of the tournament on Sunday, May 16 in a 2:00 p.m. match.
This is the 12th time in school history and the fifth time in Head Coach Nancy Harris’ seven seasons that the Tigers have advanced to the NCAA Tournament. It is the first time in program history that Clemson has played host to an NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament match. Harris said, “We are very thrilled with our draw, and the seeding was better than we had hoped. We had thought maybe we would be the sixth or eighth seed, but to go in as the fifth seed – we are very pleased. We are absolutely delighted to host this event and hope that a lot of the Clemson family will come out to support us because that support makes such a difference. We are going to take this one match at a time and enjoy every round.”
The Tigers are 22-3 so far this season, after claiming the ACC Tournament crown with wins over #45 Maryland, #14 North Carolina and #5 Duke. It was the seventh conference tournament title in history for the Tigers and the first since the 1987 season. The team also finished at the top of the regular season conference standings this season, for the eighth time overall and the first time since 1986, after completing regular season play with a perfect 8-0 record in the league. The Tigers have now won 11 consecutive matches, which is the longest winning streak since the team won the first 11 matches of the 1986 season.
Clemson has faced two of the three teams in its bracket this season, but has never played first-round opponent Troy State. Earlier this year, the Tigers scored a 4-3 victory over South Carolina in Columbia in February, then defeated Wake Forest by a score of 6-1 in March at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center. All-time, Clemson is 17-21 in the series against the Gamecocks and 8-8 against South Carolina in Clemson. The Tigers hold an 18-17 edge over the Demon Deacons, including three consecutive wins against Wake Forest.
The Tigers have also played Wake Forest and South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson defeated South Carolina by a score of 5-4 in 1996 in Columbia, the only time the teams have met in NCAA play. The Tigers and Wake Forest played in 2001 and 2002 in Winston-Salem, with the Tigers falling to the Demon Deacons both years.
At the 2003 NCAA Championships, Clemson defeated Baylor by a score of 4-1 in the first round of the regional tournament. The Tigers fell to regional-host North Carolina by a score of 1-4 in the second round. Clemson’s best NCAA finish was in 1996, when the team won the Southeast regional with victories over South Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia to advance to the NCAA Championships. The Tigers eventually fell to national runner-up Stanford in the round of 16.
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