ETSU draws No. 3 Ohio State in NCAA tennis

Johnson City Press • Updated May 1, 2018 at 8:06 PM

East Tennessee State has its assignment for the opening round of the NCAA men’s tennis tournament.

When bracket pairings were unveiled on Tuesday, the Buccaneers (16-7) learned they will meet third-ranked Ohio State (29-2) on Friday, May 11 in Columbus, Ohio.

“Ohio State is one of the toughest teams in the country every year,” said ETSU coach Martin Stiegwardt. “They’ve had one of the longest runs for the last couple of years, but everybody is tough this time of year. We’re playing good and we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re going to make sure we execute and we’ll see what happens.”

It’s the 12th straight year ETSU has reached the NCAA Tournament after claiming its 12th straight conference title and fourth straight Southern Conference tournament title. ETSU defeated Furman, 4-2, last weekend to earn the automatic berth.

“There has been a lot of changes this past year,” Steigwardt said. “There’s been coaching changes, player changes, but these guys have been to the tournament every year since they’ve been here. I’ve been to the tournament as a player and as a coach with different programs, so it’s not really a new experience so that helps. There are some new guys, but they know what they are doing so I’m sure they’ll be ready.”

The matchup against Ohio State will mark the 16th trip to the NCAAs for the Bucs in the 20 years since the team tournament format was adopted.

ETSU has won two NCAA tournament matches in its history, having beaten Notre Dame in 2008 and Alabama two years later.

“It will be a challenge for us, but I have confidence in my team,” said senior Robert Herrera. “We’ve been playing great the past two months and I think we can do great things over there. We just need to try to always play our game and set the pace of the match and control the match.”

ETSU and Ohio State square off at The Stickney Tennis Center. Time of the match has yet to be determined.

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