KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the bracket for the 2011 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship, held May 17-21 in Mobile, Ala. The 60th annual event is hosted by the Mobile Tennis Center and Mobile (Ala.).
The 24-team field is comprised of 12 squads who earned an automatic berth by winning their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournament, 11 at-large selections and one host berth. The nine at-large selections were determined by the final NAIA Men's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll released Monday.
The single elimination, dual match tournament will commence with eight first-round matchups on May 17 starting at 9 a.m. CDT. The top eight seeds receive a first-round bye and will begin action on May 18 at 9 a.m.
Union will open the tournament against Brescia (Ky.) on May 17. The Bulldogs (17-5 overall) are 4-0 all-time in the opening round and have advanced to Round of 16 the past four years.
Four of the qualifiers in this year's field have previously taken home a title. Defending national champion Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) leads with nine national championships to its name. Mobile has captured two national titles, while the Golden State Athletic Conference duo of Fresno Pacific (Calif.) and Azusa Pacific (Calif.) have each taken home the banner once.
There are three programs that will be making their 12th appearance in-a-row at the event, which is the most among the field: No. 2-seed Embry-Riddle (Fla.), No. 4-seed Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho). Auburn Montgomery and No. 6-seed Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) each have double-digit appearances under their belts with 11 apiece since the team format began in 2000.
Three programs will be making their first-ever National Championship appearance including William Carey (Miss.), Huntington (Ind.) and Brescia. Besides the newcomers, four other teams will be seeking their first win on the National Championship court.
The Golden State Athletic Conference leads all leagues with six schools in the championship field: Fresno Pacific, No. 5-seed Azusa Pacific, No. 6-seed Westmont (Calif.), No. 7-seed Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), Vanguard (Calif.) and Concordia (Calif.).
To view the entire bracket, click here.