Courtesy: Troy Athletics
The Sun Belt Shootout will descend upon Troy University's Lunsford Tennis Complex this weekend bringing some of the nation's best collegiate tennis to the city of Troy. The Trojans men's tennis team is looking to continue the current success streak, but the challenge standing before them is tall.
"In tennis everybody does not have to play each other," Troy head tennis coach Eric Hayes said. "Once a year we bring all eight of the schools together for a tournament. Denver got the top seed because they are the highest ranked team in the top 30, and we grabbed the second seed. I'm really pleased with that and looking forward to the competition."
Eight teams will be competing from the Sun Belt Conference including the Trojans. Denver enters the tournament as the top-seeded team ranked 29th in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings released on Tuesday. The Trojans enter the field of play ranked 65th as the second seed. South Alabama, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and New Orleans round out the field of competition.
"We have been in the rankings for a couple of weeks now," Hayes said. "The goal is if we can't win the conference tournament then we want to finish top 50 and hopefully get an at large bid for the post-season. It's good we're moving up, but we're not there yet and this weekend will be big for our chances at that goal."
The Trojans have had success against teams in the bracket this season posting four wins in as many tries. Those four teams were South Alabama, Florida Atlantic, New Orleans and Louisiana-Lafayette. The win against South Alabama was the first in the history of the Troy men's program.
"The winner of the tournament gets ranking points," Hayes said. "You get extra points for winning the tournament as well. If we could come out of this tournament with a win we could potentially be a top 40 team. All we are thinking about right now though is our first match against New Orleans though."
Tournament action begins on Friday morning at 9 a.m. when fourth-seeded South Alabama will take on fifth-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette. Third-seeded Florida Atlantic will take on sixth-seeded Middle Tennessee in the same time slot.
The second-seeded Trojans will face seventh-seeded New Orleans at 2 p.m. The Trojans knocked off New Orleans 6-1 back on March 6. Top-seeded Denver will take on eight-seeded Western Kentucky during the same afternoon time slot.
Saturday matches will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the championship match set to begin at 4 p.m.
"We are very excited about hosting the tournament," Hayes said. "This should be a great weekend of tennis, and we want everybody to come out and watch."
Trojan fans are encouraged to attend the matches as Troy looks to continue a nine-match win streak and a spot in the nation's top 50.