INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Sun Belt champion Middle Tennessee men's tennis team will open its 10th NCAA Tournament next Friday, May 13, when it travels to Atlanta as the No. 4 regional seed to square off against No. 1 regional seed and No. 15 national seed Georgia Tech at noon.
The Blue Raiders are making their first appearance in the field of 64 since 2009 after winning the league tournament and securing the conference's automatic bid.
"I am excited about facing Georgia Tech, a very tough team," head coach Jimmy Borendame said. "Coach (Kenny) Thorne and coach Aljosa (Piric) have put together a very good team. The past couple of years, they have become stronger and stronger in the ACC. We are looking forward to going back to Atlanta and seeing how we measure up against one of the best teams in the ACC."
Middle Tennessee and Georgia Tech have met 11 times previously but not since 2006 when the Blue Raiders dropped a tough 4-3 decision to a 29th-ranked team. MT owns a slim 6-5 edge in the all-time series with the Yellow Jackets.
The Blue Raiders are in the national tournament after posting a 13-12 record and winning the third Sun Belt crown in program history despite entering as the No. 4 seed. Junior Matthew Langley was named the Sun Belt Tournament Most Outstanding Player after clinching the quarterfinal win over Louisiana and leading Middle Tennessee to an upset of No. 72 and top-seeded Denver in the semifinals. He then won his third match in as many days at the No. 3 singles position in the championship against host South Alabama.
Freshman Ben Davis was the lone Blue Raider named to the All-Sun Belt Team and he will enter the NCAAs with a 19-5 mark, including a 12-1 ledger at the No. 4 slot. A mid-year signee, he is one of three MT players on the roster to begin play in January.
"Our players are very excited about the opportunity. We were not supposed to beat Denver or South Alabama, and now, we are not supposed to beat Georgia Tech. I think our guys like a challenge and we have been playing better and better each match. It should be a good match."
Georgia Tech enters the match after registering a 19-5 overall and 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference record. The Yellow Jackets, who lost to No. 1 Virginia in their last outing during the ACC semifinals, have been nationally ranked all season and currently sit at No. 16 in the latest Campbell's/Intercollegiate Tennis Association listings. No. 14-ranked Guillermo Gomez leads the squad after being selected as the ACC Player of the Year with a 31-7 singles and 21-6 doubles marks.
Middle Tennessee has made nine previous trips to the NCAA Tournament, the last in 2009. The Blue Raiders are 2-9 all-time in the field, having advanced to the Second Round in 1997 and 2002. Langley and senior Kyle Wishing are the only members of the MT squad to be a part of the 2009 roster, with Langley the only one of the two to compete in the First Round against Boise State in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Other teams in the Atlanta regional include No. 2 seed Mississippi State (13-8) and No. 3 seed Florida State (9-14). All team competitions are single elimination with the final 16 advancing to play at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.