WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – For the first time in a dozen years, the Purdue men’s tennis team heard its name called as an NCAA Championships qualifier. The 34th-ranked Boilermakers (15-7) received one of 33 at-large bids into the 64-team field.
It is the sixth time in program history that Purdue has qualified for the NCAA Championships and the first since 2002. The Boilermakers are bound for Lexington, Ky., where they will face No. 16 Clemson (20-8) in the first round May 9 at 12 p.m. ET. The site is hosted by No. 14 Kentucky, who will meet unranked Denver, the fourth team at the site, following the Purdue/Clemson match.
“[Waiting to hear our name was] very exciting and very nerve wracking,” head men’s tennis coach Pawel Gajdzik said. “We’ve been waiting for this for 12 years and this group of guys has done an amazing job for the program. It was great to see Purdue pop up. We knew we were in a position to make it, but unless you see your name, nothing is in stone.”
Host Kentucky is the top seed at the Lexington site, followed by second-seeded Clemson, third-seeded Purdue and fourth-seeded Denver. The Boilermakers have met the Tigers three times, but it has been 39 years. When they last faced each other in 1975, Purdue took a 5-4 decision from Clemson.
Purdue is 2-5 in five combined trips to the NCAA Championships, qualifying in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002. In their 2002 appearance while playing in South Bend, Ind., the Boilermakers opened with a 4-1 win over Ball State and then suffered a 4-0 loss to No. 14 Notre Dame.
At-large selection criteria included win-loss record, head-to-head competition, results versus common opponents, strength of schedule and wins versus teams already selected at time of consideration.
The NCAA Championships singles and doubles selections will be streamed at NCAA.com Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET.