PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The seedings for 2011 BIG EAST Tennis Championships were announced today with the top three slots on both the men’s and women’s sides mimicking last year’s bracket. Hosting the championships for the second consecutive year, Notre Dame earned the top seed on the women’s side for the 15th time in 16 seasons, while the Irish men earned the No. 2 seed. Louisville earned the top spot on the men’s side for the third-straight year.
Nine men’s squads and 12 women’s teams will compete for the conference titles April 28-May 1. The winners will receive the league’s automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, set to begin May 13-15 on campus sites to be determined.
The Cardinals are ranked No. 29 in the ITA Tennis Rankings and look to defend their 2010 title. UofL is led by the BIG EAST’s highest ranked men’s player, No. 15 Austen Childs. Childs was the 2010 BIG EAST Player of the Year and advanced to the NCAA singles championship match. Louisville also boasts the conference’s highest ranked men’s doubles pair in No. 17 Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk.
The No. 28 Notre Dame men are led by 58th-ranked Casey Watt and 109th-ranked Daniel Stahl. The Irish were the runners-up in last year’s championship.
The No. 43 USF men earned the No. 3 seed for the fifth consecutive year and will be led by No. 72 Lucas Jovita. The doubles tandem of Jovita and Jamal Adderley are ranked 57th. No. 68 DePaul and St. John’s earned spots in the men’s top five, seeded No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Marquette, Georgetown, Connecticut and Villanova complete seeds Nos. 6-9 of the men’s bracket.
The Notre Dame women have won the BIG EAST Championship in five of the last six seasons. Ranked-24th in the ITA standings, the Fighting Irish have been a part of the title match in all 15 years as a member of the conference and will be vying for their 11th championship and fourth-straight.
Notre Dame is led by three ranked singles players, including the BIG EAST’s top ranked women’s player in No. 4 Kristy Frilling. Alongside Shannon Mathews, the duo ranks 11th in the ITA standings. Frilling was the 2010 BIG EAST Player of the Year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Singles Championship.
Behind the racket of No. 40 Irene Rehberger, the 43rd-ranked USF Bulls are the No. 2 seed, while last season's runner-up DePaul is the third seed. Louisville checks in as the No. 4 seed, while Marquette rounds out the top five.
Taking the No. 6 seed is Rutgers, followed by Syracuse at No. 7, Georgetown at No. 8, Cincinnati at No. 9 and St. John’s at No. 10. West Virginia and Connecticut complete the bracket at Nos. 11 and 12, respectively.
The men’s and women’s championships will begin April 28. The first action on the men’s side will be a play-in match between the No. 8 Huskies and the No. 9 Wildcats at 9 a.m. on the south courts of the Leeper Tennis Center. The winner will meet the No. 1 Cardinals on April 29 at 9 a.m., on the north courts of the Courtney Tennis Center. The Nos. 2-7 seeded squads also begin play on April 29.
On the women’s side, the Nos. 5-12 seeds will begin championship play on April 28. The top four women’s teams have earned byes and will face the winners of the lower seed match-ups April 29.
Both championship matches are set for 9 a.m. on May 1 at the Courtney Tennis Center.
BIG EAST Championship Seeds
2. Notre Dame
5. St. John’s
1. Notre Dame
10. St. John’s
11. West Virginia