WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - The Goucher College men's tennis team has landed at Williams College, as the Gophers embark on their third straight journey into the NCAA Division III Championship on Friday when they will take on Messiah. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m.
Goucher will try to win their second NCAA Tournament match all-time on Friday, as they last accomplished the feat during the 2016 First Round when they knocked off Yeshiva at Carnegie Mellon, 5-2.
The Gophers come into the Tournament on a roll, winners of 11 of their last 12 matches dating back to the end of March. The Landmark Conference champions for the third straight season, Goucher went a perfect 7-0 in Landmark play during the regular year, then defeated Susquehanna (5-0) and Scranton (5-2) in the Landmark playoffs to sew up an automatic bid into the NCAA field.
Goucher, who was also ranked regionally throughout the course of the year for the first time since the 2004-05 season, has been led all season by the tandem of senior Jack Hodges (London, England) and first-year Tetsuya Ota (Winter Park, Fla.).
Hodges, the Landmark Conference's Player of the Year and All-Landmark First Team pick at both singles and doubles, went 19-8 in singles and 15-10 with Ota at number one doubles. Playing in the number two spot on the lineup for most of the year in singles, Hodges posted a 14-6 record there on the year and went a perfect 7-0 in singles action during the conference season.
Ota, meanwhile, earned Landmark Rookie of the Year honors and First Team accolades at both singles and doubles like Hodges. He went 18-6 in singles in his first year in the program. Going 16-5 in the top spot of the lineup for the Gophers, Ota ended the year winning eight of his last 10 singles matches, while earned Most Valuable Player honors for the Landmark Conference Championship last weekend.
Messiah comes into Friday's match with a 10-7 overall mark for the year, as the Falcons are making their fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning the program's seventh MAC Commonwealth Championship. Messiah is riding a 10-match win streak and has not lost since mid-March.
Leading the Falcons is senior Tim Dunn who was named MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year for the second-straight season and also received First Team All-MAC Commonwealth honors in singles.
This will be the second match-up of the year between the Gophers and Falcons, as back on Oct. 7 at Goucher, the host Gophers rolled to a 9-0 shutout victory. The teams also played at Goucher during the 2016-17 campaign, with the Gophers taking a 7-2 win in Towson.
The winner of Friday's First Round match-up will then take on host Williams on Saturday in the Second Round. That match is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m.
For the full 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Championship bracket, click here.