MEN’S TENNIS: Lamar draws A&M for NCAA first round

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – The Lamar men’s tennis team punched its ticket to the 2018 NCAA Championships by defeating rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Southland tournament finals Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals found out Tuesday where that ticket would take them.

Big Red is headed back to College Station and will face No. 5 overall seed Texas A&M (22-5) on Friday.

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College Station is the site of the Cardinals’ first trip to the NCAA Championships under LU head coach Scott Shankles during the 2016 season.

“We are extremely excited to be headed back to the NCAA Championships,” said Shankles. “Our guys have fought so hard this season, and had to overcome so much. It is great to see their hard work be rewarded.

“Texas A&M is one of the top programs in the nation. There are no easy matches when you get to this point. We knew before the selection show began that we were going to have a tough draw. I know our guys are excited to get there. We have our work cut out for us, but will be ready to play.”

The Cardinals (10-13) made a stunning run through the SLC Championships to qualify for their third NCAA tournament appearance in as many years. The Red and White knocked off the top-two seeds to qualify for the NCAAs. The journey to the postseason is made more impressive by the fact that the Cardinals qualified for the conference tournament on the final day of the regular season.

The other two teams making up the four-team pod are Arizona State (14-10) and Baylor (20-9). The Bears enter the tournament as an at-large selection after posting a fifth-place finish in the Big 12. Baylor advanced to the conference tournament finals before bowing out to Texas.

The Sun Devils finished fifth in the Pac-12 Conference during the 2018 campaign. Arizona State was eliminated from the conference tournament by rival Arizona in the opening round.

The opening-round match against the Aggies will take place Friday at 1 p.m. The first and second round matches will be played at the Mitchell Tennis Center.