Sports

B-CU To Face Florida In NCAA Women’s Tennis Opening Round

Bethune-Cookman Tennis Team

Bethune-Cookman Tennis Team

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman returns to the NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament for the first time since 2001 with a return trip to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators.

The Lady Wildcats (22-6) learned they will face the Gators (21-3) next week, with match time and date still be determined. Bethune-Cookman met Florida in the NCAA tournament opening round for three consecutive years from 1999-2001, with the host Gators taking all three meetings.

“We’re excited and happy to be in the tournament,” said B-CU Head Coach Tim Pleasant. “The championship is about playing the best teams and playing your best.”

Bethune-Cookman hasn’t played Florida during the spring dual season since 2001, but the Lady Wildcats did participate in the Bedford Cup held at Gainesville during the 2013 fall season, with Maria Sablina advancing to the round of 16 and Mina Matsuba the quarterfinals, both facing former Gator standout Olivia Janowicz.

“The good thing is that we’ve played their top players,” said sophomore Mina Matsuba, “We’re mentally good.”

Led by Matsuba, who garnered her second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Player Of The Year award and Rookie Of The Year Maria Garoz-Moreno, the Lady Wildcats ended South Carolina State’s ten-year run as conference champs with a 4-0 victory at the MEAC tournament April. Bethune-Cookman has won 10 straight matches and 19 of its last 20.

Florida, a six-time NCAA champion, is the No. 5 overall seed in the 64-team tournament. The Gators were upended by Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament semifinals.