2017 NAIA Women's Tennis National Championship Preview
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Women's Tennis - Mon, May 15, 2017

By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern

MOBILE, Ala. – (BracketThe 37th annual Women's Tennis National Championship gets underway with first serve dropping tomorrow morning at 1:30 p.m. CDT in Mobile, Ala. The 2017 event will take place at the Mobile Tennis Center.

The field consists of 14 automatic berths, including one host berth, and nine at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference and unaffiliated grouping tournament champions and runners-up, depending on the conference. For the first year, at-large teams were determined by the NAIA Tennis National Selection Committee (NSC). The NSC consists of one representative from each geographic area, a representative from the National Administrative Council (NAC) Rules and Ratings Committee, the president of the Tennis Coaches Association and two at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria. Mobile (Ala.) received the host berth.

The single elimination, tournament commences with eight first-round matchups on May 16 starting at 1:30 p.m. CDT. The top-eight seeds receive a first-round bye and begin action on May 17 at 1 p.m. The event concludes on May 21 with the championship match at 1 p.m.

Defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Georgia Gwinnett headlines the field after earning an at-large berth. The two-time title winner finished the season with an unblemished 22-0 record and is looking to win its third-ever national championship in just three appearances in Mobile. The Grizzlies are only in their fourth year as a program. Valeria Podda leads her Grizzlie squad as she comes in as the No. 2 singles player in the NAIA. Georgia Gwinnett takes the court on Wednesday and will face the winner of No. 17 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 16 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).  

Last year's national runner-up, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), earned the No. 2 seed in this year's bracket. The Blue Raiders carry into Mobile a 19-4 record after winning the Mid-South Conference tournament. Lindsey Wilson received a first-round bye as well and will await the winner of a Tuesday afternoon match between No. 15 Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 18 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.).

Three teams will see their first-ever national championship action this season – Campbellsville (Ky.), Cumberlands and San Diego Christian (Calif.).

Keiser and Georgia Gwinnett are the only teams in the field with a national championship already under their belts. 

The University of Northwestern Ohio is among the seventeen teams which will return from the 2016 field. The eighth-seeded Racers open the event with a bye to the second round as they seek the first ever appearance into the quarterfinals for the program. UNOH will take on the winner of No. 9 LSU Alexandria (La.) and No. 24 Hastings (Neb.).

For more information on the 2017 NAIA Women's Tennis National Championship, click here.