ODU men’s & women’s tennis to take on South Carolina in NCAA tournament openers

NORFOLK, Va. (Courtesy of ODU Athletics) – Both Old Dominion’s men’s and women’s tennis teams will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina to face South Carolina in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

On the strength of their second straight Sun Belt Tournament title, the 51st ranked Old Dominion men’s tennis team (20-7) will face 24th-ranked South Carolina (17-14) at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon at N.C. State. The winner of that match will face the winner of the host Wolfpack and South Carolina State at 5 p.m. Saturday in the regional final.

“It’s exciting to be in the NCAA tournament and to be as close to Norfolk as we are,” said ODU head coach Dominik Mueller. “South Carolina is a tough, battle-tested team from the SEC for sure. Playing a name like that is a good start.”

The Monarchs enter the tournament coming off a 4-1 win over 63rd-ranked Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Championship April 21. Freshman Connor van Schalkwyk leads the team in the spring with a 19-4 record, while sophomore Yanis Moundir sports a 16-2 mark at the No. 3 spot. Sophomore Cosme Rolland de Ravel is 15-6, while freshman Aryan Saleh is 12-8 and junior Codie van Schalkwyk is 11-9 in singles.

Doubles has the duo of Rolland de Ravel and Codie van Schalkwyk sporting a 14-0 mark at the two spot, Maxime Mareschal-Hay and Moundir are 12-4 at the three spot, while Jakob Cadonau and Connor van Schalkwyk are 8-1 at the top.

Connor van Schalkwyk was named freshman of the year and first team All-Conference singles, while he and Codie van Schalkwyk were first team All-Conference doubles selections. Rolland de Ravel was a first team pick in singles and in doubles with Cadonau, while Moundir was named to the second team All-Conference squad.

South Carolina lost the SEC title match to 4th-ranked Kentucky 4-2 on April 21. They defeated 19th-ranked Alabama, 15th-ranked Mississippi State and 6th-ranked Tennessee all by 4-2 counts to advance to the final.

Casey Hoole and Toby Samuel are ranked 18th nationally in doubles and sport a 9-5 record. Samuel is ranked eighth nationally in singles with a 19-5 mark this spring, while James Story is 89th with a 12-10 record and Hoole is 92nd sporting a 19-19 record.

These teams have met three times in history with South Carolina winning the prior meetings. They last met in the NCAA Tournament at South Carolina in 2018 with the hosts winning 4-1.

Coming on the heels of winning the Sun Belt Conference title for the second year in a row on Sunday, the Old Dominion women’s tennis team learned they are also heading to Raleigh to face South Carolina in its opening round match of the NCAA tournament.

Sixty-sixth-ranked ODU (17-5) faces 19th-ranked South Carolina (17-7) at 11 a.m. Saturday morning on the N.C. State campus. The winner of that match will take on the winner of N.C. State and S.C. State at 2 p.m. Sunday in the regional final.

“It’s our fifth straight appearance, and it is a privilege to play in this. In the NCAA Tournament everyone is good. I think South Carolina’s number one and two players have been ranked tops nationally before. We look forward to competing with them Saturday,” said ODU head coach Dominic Manilla.

The Monarchs enter the tournament winners of 13 matches in a row after capturing their second straight Sun Belt Tournament crown and fourth straight league crown on Sunday defeating App State 4-2.

Lidiia Rasskouskaia enters the tournament with a team best 19-1 record this spring and has won her last 12 matches. Ulyana Romanova is 16-4 mainly at No. 6 in the lineup, while Alexandra Viktorovitch is 14-4 and has won her last 12 matches in a row mainly at the No. 2 spot. Junior Sofia Johnson is 12-4 at the top of the lineup. In doubles, Johnson and Rasskouskaia lead the Monarchs with a 14-5 record this spring at No. 1.

Johnson was named Sun Belt player of the year and earned first team All-Conference honors in singles and in doubles with Rasskouskaia. Viktorovitch joined Johnson on first team All-Conference singles, while Romanova was named freshman of the year and Rasskouskaia was also named player to watch in the league. Manilla was named Sun Belt coach of the year for the second straight year.

South Carolina lost its second-round match to Florida in the SEC tournament 4-3 on April 19. Ayana Akli is ranked 10th nationally playing the top spot in their lineup and has a 26-10 record. Sarah Hamner is ranked 17th nationally playing in the two spot and sports a 31-7 mark. Those two are ranked 26th nationally in doubles with a 10-9 mark this spring at the top spot of the lineup.

These teams met last year in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with ODU taking a 4-2 victory.

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