Courtesy Peach Belt Conference
AUGUSTA, GA – The Peach Belt Conference released the 2012 men's and women's tennis tournament brackets as the championship is set to begin this Friday in Greenwood, S.C. Armstrong Atlantic State is once again the #1 seed on both the men's and women's side while Columbus State is the #2 seed in both tournaments. The tournament is being hosted by Lander University.
On the men's side, the Pirates will be seeking their eighth straight PBC Tournament title. Currently the #1 team in the nation, Armstrong ran through the PBC schedule undefeated at 9-0, the seventh straight year they have navigated the league without a conference loss. Currently 21-0 on the season, the 2008 and 2009 national champions will begin the 2012 postseason against eight-seeded USC Aiken. USCA finished in a tie with Lander for the final spot in the tournament field and earned it thanks to a win over Flagler on April 10.
Columbus State suffered only one conference loss and two losses overall during the 2012 season. The Cougars are 20-2 heading into the PBC and ranked #8 in the nation. Columbus State reached the national semifinals for the first time in school history in 2011 and will be looking for their first PBC Tournament title. The Cougars opponent will be the #7 seed, either North Georgia or Augusta State.
North Georgia and Augusta State have been the victim of bad weather for weeks and have been unable to play their regular-season match. The two teams will meet in Greenwood on Thursday at 2:00 pm, just hours before the annual awards banquet. The winner of that match will be the #6 seed with the loser falling to the #7 seed.
Lander will be serving as tournament host for the first time ever and will showcase the Joe Cabri Tennis Center located in the new Jeff May Complex which opened this year. The Bearcats are 17-3 overall on the season, 7-2 in conference play and ranked #9 in the nation. Lander, who won eight straight national championships from 1993-99, also won the first 11 PBC tennis tournaments and will be looking for their first title since 2002. The Bearcats will face the winner of the the North Georgia/Augusta State match in Friday's quarterfinals.
Francis Marion is the #4 seed for the PBC Tournament. Ranked #10 in the nation, the Patriots were 10-5 overall during the regular season, 6-3 in conference play. FMU has beaten five nationally-ranked teams this year, including Georgia College, who will be the #5 seed in the tournament and FMU's first-round opponent. GC is ranked #29 in the nation with a 10-7 overall record, 4-5 in league play this year.
On the women's side, top-seeded Armstrong Atlantic State will be looking for their ninth straight PBC Tournament title in Greenwood. The Pirates, ranked #3 in the nation, set a league mark for consecutive tournament titles last season with their eighth in a row and have won 17 of the 20 PBC women's tennis tournaments ever played. 20-0 on the season and 12-0 in league play, the Pirates finished their ninth year in a row without a conference loss. Armstrong will face eight-seeded Augusta State in the opening round. ASU is ranked #40 in the nation after going 11-10 during the regular season.
Columbus State will be the #2 seed in the PBC Tournament for the fourth year in a row. Ranked #7 in the nation, the Cougars were 23-1 on the season, 12-1 in conference play and hope to return to the PBC Championship match for the third time in the last five years. CSU will face off against Clayton State, the #7 seed in the PBC Tournament. Clayton State reached the NCAA National Semifinals for the first time in school history in 2011 and played in the PBC championship match in 2010. In the midst of a rebuilding season, the Lakers go to Greenwood 7-12 overall and 6-6 in league play.
Francis Marion is the third seed for the PBC women's tennis tournament. The Patriots are 16-2 overall on the year, 10-2 in league play and took Columbus State to the final set in a 5-4 loss on March 17. FMU reached the 2010 tournament championship match and are looking for their first tournament title. The Patriots will face sixth-seeded USC Aiken in the quarterfinals. The Pacers are 13-7 overall and 7-5 in league play, setting a school record for the most conference victories in a season. USCA also has their highest tournament seeding since 2006.
Flagler will be the #4 seed in the PBC Tournament. The Saints, ranked #25 in the nation, make their third PBC Tournament appearance since joining the league in 2009-10 and reached the semifinals for the first time in 2011. The Saints will face fifth-seeded Georgia College in the opening round, the Bobcats finished the regular season in a tie with USC Aiken at 7-5, but won a tiebreak thanks to a 5-1 win in Aiken on April 14. Ranked #30 in the nation, Georgia College is the last non-Armstrong school to win the PBC Tournament, capturing the title in 2003.
The 2012 PBC Tennis Tournament will begin at 9:00 am with the 2/7 matches for men and women. That will be followed by three more women's quarterfinal matches at 1:00 with the other three men's quarterfinals at 5:00 pm. On Friday only, the 1/8 matches for men and women will be held at the Greenwood Country Club. All other matches will be at the Cabri Tennis Center at the Jeff May Complex.