LSU men’s tennis ready for NCAA tourney

MALIBU, Calif. — The No. 20 LSU men’s tennis team will compete in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Malibu, Calif., against No. 41 Stanford at noon Friday at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.

This leg of the tournament is hosted by No. 12 Pepperdine (24-5), which will face C Santa Barbara (12-13).

Additionally, the NCAA women’s tournament begins Friday with Northwestern State (14-7) facing No. 9 Alabama (19-5) at 1 p.m. at the Alabama Tennis Complex

Also, No. 3 Texas A&M (21-3) hosts Southern (10-9) at noon Saturday at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas)

LSU and Stanford have met before with the Cardinal defeating the Tigers 5-2 in the championship match of the 1988 tournament.

“LSU and Stanford have a rich history going back to 1988 NCAA championship match,” LSU coach Jeff Brown said. “Stanford played better toward the end of this year, and we have a lot of respect for their program. Our guys are certainly excited to go to Malibu and compete.”

LSU (15-11) is coming off a first-round exit in the SEC Championships in Oxford, Miss., with a 4-3 loss to South Carolina (18-10, 7-5 SEC).

They will be led in singles by sophomore No. 42 Chris Simpson, and senior No. 91 Stefan Szacinski, who were both named to the All-SEC second team for the season. Simpson has also been selected to participate in singles in the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships in Urbana, Ill., May 22-27 after the conclusion of the team championships.

In doubles, the Tigers will be led by No. 31 Szacinski and freshman Tam Trinh and the No. 74 duo of Simpson and Szacinski.

Stanford (12-11) defeated then-No. 33 Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 Championships before losing 4-0 to No. 1 UCLA in the semifinals. The Cardinal are led in singles by No. 50 sophomore John Morrissey. Their lone ranked doubles pair is No. 54 Morrissey and Denis Lin.

The Tigers, making their third-straight NCAA tournament appearance, lost in the second round of the tournament last year to then-No. 8 Duke 4-1 after defeating Northwestern 4-0 in the first round.

The second match Friday features Pepperdine hosting UC Santa Barbara at 3 p.m.

The winners of both matches will face each other in the second round on Saturday at 3 p.m.