The Elon University women’s tennis team learned its destination and first round opponent for the upcoming NCAA Tournament April 29. The Phoenix (15-8), making its first ever trip to the tournament, will visit the University of Georgia Bulldogs (21-4) at 4 p.m. May 9 in Athens, Ga.
With the team gathered in the Walker Room at Alumni Fieldhouse for the selection show, the anticipation was brief. Georgia was announced as the No. 1 overall seed for the tournament, and Elon was only the second school to have its name called.
“I was expecting a little bit of a wait,” Elon head coach Elizabeth Anderson said. “It was exciting to find out and put our suspense to rest. We’re excited for the opportunity to play in the tournament and represent the conference.”
Going into the tournament, the team was aware of some potential destinations for the first round. Some of those destinations included nearby Duke University (the No. 4 seed) and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (No. 7 seed).
“I knew Georgia was a possible destination but it was a little bit of a surprise,” Anderson said.
Elon is the No. 4 seed in the four-team pod, with Georgia being the No. 1. The University of Arizona (No. 2) will take on Florida State University (No. 3) in the other first round matchup in Athens.
The players are excited for the match because it requires a road trip.
“Going into this, we were going to get a low seed,” senior Frida Jansaker said. “Whatever result we were going to get would be fine, but we didn’t want to play Duke (University) or (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) because we wanted to travel.”
And travel the Phoenix will. The journey to Athens is a repeat one for Elon, which participated in the ITA Kickoff Weekend tournament in the Peach State Jan. 24-25. The first of the two matches which Elon played on the weekend was against the Bulldogs, and it resulted in a 4-0 loss for the Phoenix.
“I think we gained a lot of experience from that match and it helped us throughout the season,” Anderson said. “That was one of the first times we had played that type of a match. The ITA Kickoff is similar format to the NCAA Tournament.”
Jansaker is not concerned about that match in her preparation for the tournament.
“You play tennis because you want to play against the best,” she said. “Their one and two (singles players) are top ten in the nation. I’m not going to think about that (January) match.”
For Jansaker, who is one of three seniors, the NCAA tournament will mark the end of her collegiate career. Heading into the tournament, her goals are simple.
“We’re just going to go enjoy it and do our best,” Jansaker said. “Just getting to the NCAA tournament was a blessing in itself.”