May 7, 2014
2014 NCAA Tournament Bracket
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern received the No. 15 overall seed and will host the first two rounds of the 2014 NCAA women's tennis tournament at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center, the NCAA selection committee announced last Tuesday. The Wildcats begin their championship quest by hosting the Miami (Ohio) Red Hawks (17-6) at 3 p.m. Friday.
NU also welcomes Notre Dame (16-9) and DePaul (22-3) to Evanston for the tournament. The Fighting Irish and Blue Demons meet at noon with the `Cats to play Miami (Ohio) immediately after. The winners of Friday's matches will square off at noon Saturday.
Single-day tickets for the tournament cost $7 for adults and $4 for youth and senior citizens. Northwestern undergraduate students will be admitted free of charge with a valid WildCARD.
The Wildcats are playing in their 16th straight NCAA tournament and 24th overall. The team has been selected to host the opening rounds for the 15th consecutive season. Northwestern has advanced past the opening two rounds in 13 of the past 14 years.
Northwestern earned the Big Ten's automatic bid to the tournament after its thrilling conference tournament championship win over Michigan on Sunday. In front of its home crowd, NU came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the final three matches of the afternoon. The 4-3 win was the Wildcats' 16th straight Big Ten title.
Belinda Niu erased a 5-2 third-set deficit against Ronit Yurovsky with the team score tied at three to win 7-5 and deliver NU the conference championship. Niu was rewarded for her conference tournament efforts with a six-spot climb in the ITA rankings up to No. 35. The senior is 18-3 in dual match play. Veronica Corning also finds a spot in the poll at No. 43. Playing the entirety of the season in the first singles spot, Corning amassed a 14-10 record. The Wildcats also have a highly-ranked doubles team consisting of Corning and Alicia Barnett. The duo is ranked 29th with a record of 12-9.
The Red Hawks are coming off a conference tournament championship of their own. Miami won the Mid-American Conference title with a 4-2 win over Eastern Michigan to advance to their second-straight NCAA tournament.
Andreea Badileanu leads the Red Hawks with an 18-4 record, primarily at the No. 2 singles position. Ana Rajkovic has been strong at the back end of the lineup, posting a 17-5 mark at No. 6.
Northwestern has never lost to the Red Hawks, posting a 7-0 record all-time. NU ousted Miami from the 2010 NCAA tournament in the last meeting between the two teams. The Wildcats also beat Miami in the 2009 tournament.
NU has been to the Round of 16 each of the last four seasons. In 2009, the Wildcats advanced all to the way to the quarterfinals of the national tournament.
Before Notre Dame's second-round exit from the ACC tournament, the Fighting Irish had won eight matches in a row and 11 of their past 13 overall. The lone-ranked singles player for Notre Dame is Quinn Gleason. She has spent time playing at both the first and second singles spots, compiling a 16-7 dual mark. The Irish bring a highly-touted doubles tandem to the NCAA tournament in Gleason and Britney Sanders. The duo is ranked 12th with a record of 14-8.
Along with Northwestern and Miami, DePaul also won their conference tournament last weekend. The Blue Demons shut out Xavier in the Big East championship match to clinch the title. Ana Vladutu is ranked 112th with a 14-5 mark split between the first and second positions in singles play. Rebeca Mitrea and Kelsey Lawson have anchored the end of the singles lineup. Mitrea is 21-2 this season at spots five and six, while Lawson recorded a 19-2 mark at the third and fourth positions.
Notre Dame is 22-0 all-time against DePaul.
The winner of the four-team bracket will advance to the Round of 16 in Athens, Ga., beginning May 15.
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