Baylor men’s tennis to take road trip while women fly for NCAA Tournament

The Bears posted a 4-3 win over SMU in the opening round of last season's NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 2 seed Texas A&M. Michael Haag | Sports Editor

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

One team has a bus ride less than 100 miles away while the other has a flight halfway across the country, but both Baylor tennis programs heard their names called during Monday night’s NCAA Selection Show.

The men earned their 26th straight selection, and they’ll face San Diego in the first round on Friday at Texas A&M’s Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station. The women, meanwhile, notched their 25th NCAA Tournament appearance and will square off with LSU on Friday at the Taube Family Tennis Center in the Stanford Regional.

The Cardinal (22-2) are the No. 2 overall seed and are the host team for the first two rounds of Baylor’s (17-12) quadrant.

Women’s tennis head coach Joey Scrivano said he and the squad fully expected to secure an at-large bid on Monday.

“We felt like our resume was more than enough to get us in,” Scrivano, who’s in his 22nd year at the helm, said. “It’s just always great to be in the tournament. It’s an accomplishment [that’s] not easy. There’s a lot of teams that wish they were in our shoes right now.”

The Bears’ selection marked the 18th time Scrivano has led them to the NCAA Tournament, and they have accomplished the feat in four straight seasons. They will face the Tigers (15-10) for the fifth time in program history and first time since 1990.

LSU has won every meeting.

The Baylor women are led by senior Miska Kadleckova, an Iowa State transfer who ranks second on the team in singles wins with a 16-4 record. Kadleckova is 15-4 on court one — a spot she has nestled into this season.

As a freshman, Kadleckova helped the Cyclones advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, and she said she will make sure to remind her younger teammates that tennis is played with neutral conditions.

“[The] tennis ball is the same, tennis court is the same, so it’ll be the same — no difference [at Stanford],” Kadleckova said.

Scrivano said the team is lasered in on LSU and that they will worry about Stanford if they match up in the second round.

“We’re going to do everything we can to prepare and just play the tennis that we’ve played all year,” Scrivano said. “That’s been more than enough to get us in this tournament, and it will be more than enough to get us through this round.”

The Bears are 2-4 all-time against the Cardinal, last facing them in 2011. Baylor owns a 39-20 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament.

On the flip side, the Baylor men (18-11) have their sights set on a San Diego (22-3) squad which is fresh off winning the WCC Tournament title on Saturday. The Bears have never faced the Toreros before, but they’ll face off on Friday in College Station.

The prevailing team will play the winner of Texas A&M and Rice in the second round on Saturday.

Men’s head coach Michael Woodson said it was no surprise to get into the tournament and also end up in a familiar place down the road.

“This is my seventh year in the tournament, and we’ve played A&M — this will be now three times or potentially three times,” Woodson said. “So if one of us isn’t hosting, it feels like, ‘Well, we’re going to the other one.’”

Baylor holds a combined record of 42-5 in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and it owns an overall mark of 67-24. The Bears are coming off a 4-1 loss to No. 3 TCU in the first round of the Big 12 Championships on April 19.

They faced an early exit in the conference tournament despite winning the doubles point and being up a break on four courts of singles play. Senior Tadeas Paroulek said there were positives to take from the loss.

Paroulek has four wins on court one this season, which is tied for the most on the team.

“I think we showed up pretty good in doubles,” Paroulek said. “In singles, we had a couple [of] close matches. Some matches didn’t go our way. But it was good feedback for us, and we obviously worked the following weeks to get better.”

Woodson said the biggest benefit of this selection is that College Station is a bus ride away.

“We haven’t played any of the teams that we could play here this weekend, but being able to play somewhere close — not having to fly — being able to get there, get used to the conditions [is huge],” Woodson said. “It’s windy there, it’s windy here, and we’ve played on those courts a bunch of times; all of our guys have, in tournaments and matches and stuff.”

The men’s first-round matchup will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, while the women face LSU at noon. Winners will move on to the regional final on Saturday.

Then the winner of each regional advances to a super-regional comprised of just two teams on May 10 or 11. The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship match will all be held at the Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Okla.