The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta State men's and women's tennis teams are set to compete against the rest of the league in the Gulf South Conference Tournament, scheduled to be played this week in Montgomery, Ala. for the seventh straight season.
The quarterfinal round is set to begin this morning, and matches will take place at both Lagoon Park and the O'Connor Tennis Center all the way up to the championship match on Saturday at 10 a.m..
The Blazers enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed and will open up with No. 7 North Alabama at 9 a.m. at O'Connor Tennis Center. The winner of the match will move on to face either No. 3 West Alabama or No. 7 Christian Brothers, who will also square off on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.. Rounding out the field on the men's side are Delta State at No. 4 and fifth ranked Alabama Huntsville. The pair will battle on Thursday morning to determine who will face top-ranked West Florida in the semifinal round on Friday.
At No. 13 in the nation, Valdosta State ranks 12 spots higher than the No. 25 West Alabama Tigers. However, the Blazers trail the Tigers in the NCAA South Regional poll, as VSU stands at No. 6, while UWA earned a spot at No. 5. West Florida tops the field, with a No. 1 position in both the regional and national rankings.
On an individual note, The Blazers feature Francisco Yim Kim, who has played at No. 1 singles for the Blazers for the entire season and currently ranks at No. 35 on the ITA Singles National Rankings. He joins eight other nationally ranked players that will compete in this week's GSC tournament, a list that includes UWF's Bruno Savi, the nation's top-ranked player.
The Lady Blazers hold the No. 2 spot in the tournament field and will face No. 7 West Georgia at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. The winner of that match will move on to Friday's semifinals to compete against the winner of the No. 3 North Alabama / No. 6 Delta State match that will also play on Thursday. No. 4 West Alabama and No. 5 Alabama Huntsville will duke it out in Thursday's quarterfinal round for an opportunity to play the winner of No. 1 West Florida and No. 8 Christian Brothers.
Valdosta State represents one of two teams in the GSC tournament that are currently ranked among the nation's top 50. The Lady Blazers hold a position in the ITA National polls at No. 15, while West Florida ranks at No. 9. The tournament will feature a struggle for positioning in the NCAA South Regional rankings, as VSU enters at No. 7, while West Florida holds the fifth spot.
Representing the Blazers on a national level in doubles competition are Michelle Fischer and Sabrina Schmidt. The pair have played together at No. 1 doubles for a majority of the season, and their 9-5 record has earned them a position at No. 21 in the national rankings.
The Gulf South Conference is providing full coverage of the action this week, and the GSC website will serve as a primary location for results throughout the tournament.
Score updates and results for both the men and women will also be posted at www.vstateblazers.com following the completion of each match.