Dates, Format & Sites: The first and second rounds of the team tournament were played at regional sties, May 8-10. Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and Rice University will co-host the team championships, which will be held May 14-17 at Memorial Park and Homer Ford Park in Houston, Texas.
Top Teams Entering NCAA Tournament: No. 1 Armstrong Atlantic State, No. 2 Valdosta State, No. 3 West Florida, No. 4 Drury, No. 5. Barry, No. 6 Lynn, No. 7 Cameron and No. 8 Ouachita Baptist. Coach Simon Earnshaw has led top-seeded Armstrong Atlantic State to a 25-0 record entering the NCAA Championships. Armstrong Atlantic Sate has not lost a match since the quarterfinals of the 2007 NCAA Championships. The Pirates own five wins over teams ranked in the top six.
2007 Champion: Lynn captured its first NCAA title in school history by defeating Valdosta State 5-1. It was a rematch of the 2006 NCAA title match in which Valdosta State beat the Fighting Knights. Coach Michael Perez has led No. 6 Lynn to a 16-5 record entering this year’s NCAA Championships.
History/Trends: Valdosta State has appeared in three NCAA finals in four years, winning the title in 2006 by defeating Lynn 5-2. During the last two seasons, the championship match-up has featured Valdosta State vs. Lynn, with each team winning one title. No. 1 Armstrong Atlantic State is looking to eliminate that trend by advancing to its first national championship match in school history. Lander leads all schools with eight NCAA team titles; followed by SIU-Edwardsville with seven and UC Irvine with six each (UC Irvine is now Division I).
2008 In Review: Top ranked Armstrong Atlantic State finished the season 25-0, while cruising to its fourth straight Peach Belt Conference Championship. The Pirates of Armstrong Atlantic State have five singles players ranked in the Top-50 nationally, with Freshman Tim Johannsen ranked the highest at No. 6. Second-ranked Valdosta State finished 13-5 as they won the Gulf South Conference title for the second straight season. Barry defeated Lynn to claim its 6th Sunshine State Conference title. Cameron, who owns a 21-4 record, enters the NCAA Championships on a high note after winning the Lone Star Conference regular season crown and LSC tournament title. Last season the Aggie finished the year at No. 22 nationally, but enters this year’s tournament ranked No. 7. BYU-Hawaii’s David Porter notched his 1,000 career victory in February. Last fall Alex Grubin of Concordia (NY) won the ITA National Small College Championships by defeating Drury’s Stefan Borg 6-1, 6-4. UC San Diego’s Eric Rubens and Blake Meister defeated USC-Aiken’s Dagoberto Darezzo and Edward Horne 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 10-8 to claim the ITA doubles title.
In the ITA Singles & Doubles Rankings: (Singles) No. 1 Alex Grubin of Concordia, No. 2 Henry Estrella of Incarnate Word, No. 3 Michael Knoedler of Florida Southern, No. 4 Stefan Borg of Drury, No. 5 Erick Siqueira of Georgia College & State, No. 6 Tim Johannsen of Armstrong Atlantic State, No. 7 Philip Pakebusch of Anderson, No. 8 Ondra Vana of Ouachita Baptist, No. 9 Florian Halb of Valdosta State and No. 10 Joerg Ekkenga of Valdosta State. (Doubles) No. 1 Jordi Mullor and Daniel Pazos of Cameron, No. 2 Leos Jelinek and Joerg Ekkenga of Valdosta State, No. 3 Henry Estrella and Michael Castillo of Incarnate Word, No. 4 Lorenzo Cava and Tomas Racak of Lynn and No. 5 Patrick Rittenauer and Ales Svigelj of Barry. Note: Division II no longer administers a postseason NCAA singles and doubles tournament.
In the ITA Rankings: In the latest ITA Rankings (Which can differ from NCAA seeding) Armstrong Atlantic State is No. 1, followed by No. 2 Valdosta State, No. 3 West Florida, No. 4 Drury, No. 5 Barry, No. 6 Lynn, No. 7 Cameron, No. 8 Ouachita Baptist, No. 9 Hawaii Pacific, No. 10 Florida Southern, No. 11 Rollins, No. 12 Concordia, No. 13 Lander, No. 14 Georgia College & State, No. 15 Incarnate Word, No. 16 Anderson, No. 17 Northwood, No. 18 UC San Diego, No. 19 Columbus State and No. 20 Francis Marion.
2008 ITA National Award Winners: The national winners will be announced May 13. List
For ITA Coaches: The ITA Coaches Annex Meeting will take place on Tuesday May 13th at 4:45pm in the Cottonwood Room at the Hyatt Regency in Houston, Texas.
Compiled by Justin Cohen