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Apr 16, 2013 2:15 PM by Sun Belt Sports

Field for SBC Tennis Championships Set, Cajuns Play on Thursday

LAFAYETTE, La. - The Middle Tennessee men and the North Texas women earned the top seeds at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tennis Championships hosted by the University of Louisiana Lafayette as the league unveiled the bracket on Tuesday.

The Championships will begin on Thursday, April 18, with the women's championship match concluding on Sunday, April 21.

The Blue Raiders (18-7) earned an ITA Ranking of No. 49 to clinch the top seed. They concluded the season strong by winning seven of their last eight matches, including a first-place showing at the eight-team MT Shootout. Junior Ben Davis leads the team with a 13-9 singles record at the No. 1 position, and was 11-4 at No. 1 doubles with freshman Victor Cornea.

With a bye in the first-round, MT will await the winner of No. 4 Louisiana-Lafayette (14-11) and No. 5 Florida Atlantic (8-13) at 2:00 PM on Thursday at Cajun Courts. The Ragin' Cajuns enter the tournament on a three-match winning streak, while the Owls have won their last two.

On the women's side, the Mean Green (15-5) secured the No. 1 seed with an ITA Ranking of No. 60. NT finished the season on a three-match win-streak and was victorious in seven of its last eight matches. It will take on the winner of No. 8 FIU and No. 9 UALR on Thursday at 8:30 AM at Red Lerille's.

The Panthers (3-15) jumped up the SBC seeding charts after key wins over Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic. FIU also defeated Big East foe St. John's on Feb. 28. Should the Panthers get past the Trojans (14-9), it will look to avenge a 5-2 defeat on Feb. 16 to the Mean Green in the second round.

Georgia State (6-10) earned the No. 2 women's seed after holding the best three regular-season victories in the conference, including a 4-3 win over No. 33 Oklahoma State. Sophomore Abigail Tere-Apisah enters the competition as the highest ranked singles player at No. 41 in the country, and is also No. 33 in doubles with sophomore Masa Grgan.

GSU will take on the winner of No. 7 Louisiana-Monroe (14-3) and No. 10 FAU (8-9) on Thursday at 10:00 AM at Bourgeois Hall. The Warhawks finished the season with the highest winning percentage in the league and have won four in-a-row with a combined match score of 26-1.

Medy Blankvoort registered a 14-2 season at No. 2 singles for ULM, while Silvia Turnova and Petra Horakova went 13-3 at No. 3 and 6 singles, respectively. The duo of Blankvoort and Justyna Krol propelled the doubles courts with a 12-1 mark.

No. 3 Troy (17-5) and No. 4 South Alabama (15-9) received first-round byes and both enter the Championships on wins. The Trojans defeated MT 6-1, while the Jaguars took down UAB 4-3.

Troy will face the winner of No. 6 MT (10-11) and No. 11 ASU (5-10) on Thursday at 11:30 AM at Red Lerille's. The Blue Raiders won the regular-season meeting over the Red Wolves, 6-1 on April 7. Tamara Slijepcevic picked up the lone win for ASU with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Irina Constantinide at No. 1 singles.

USA awaits the winner of No. 5 Louisiana-Lafayette (13-11) and No. 12 WKU (10-7) at 10:00 AM on Thursday at Cajun Courts. WKU enters the match having won four straight. Should the Cajuns get past the Lady Toppers, they will look to avenge a 4-0 loss to the Jaguars on March 31.

The women's championship match will take place on Sunday at 10:00 AM at Cajun Courts.

With the No. 2 seed in the men's bracket, USA (10-13) will play No. 7 WKU (6-13) on Thursday at 2:30 PM at Red Lerille's. The Hilltoppers are coming off a 5-2 win over North Alabama to end the regular season.

The Jaguars moved up to the No. 2 seed on the third tie-breaker because of their 4-2 victory of No. 3 Georgia State (12-10) on Feb. 24.

The Panthers will take on No. 6 Troy (8-16) at 2:00 PM on Thursday at Bourgeois Hall in a season finale rematch. The two just met on April 13 with GSU coming out on top, 5-2. The Panthers duo of Lucas Santa Ana and Victor Valente enter the competition as the highest ranked doubles team at No. 43.

The men's championship match will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday at Cajun Courts.

The seeding for the SBC Championships was determined by the following criteria:

1. Top 75 based on ITA rankings that are released the Monday prior to the Tournament. Teams with a top 75 ITA ranking will be protected and their seeding will not be adjusted based on head to head conference matches.

2. Lowest cumulative ITA ranking of an institution's top three wins. Rankings that are released the Monday prior to the Tournament.

3. Once the remaining institutions are seeded based on the lowest cumulative ITA score of top three wins, beginning with the highest seeded team outside of the top 75 ITA and moving downward, institutions which are stacked will be moved up or down an unlimited number of times so long as stacked with an opponent to which there was head to head competition.

Live stats will be available at the SBC Tennis Championships page for all matches at http://www.sunbeltsports.org/CHAMPIONSHIPS/2012-2013Championships/Spring/Tennis.aspx.

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