Liberty men's tennis star Sam Matheson will compete in the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship on Thursday in Tulsa, Okla. Prior to Matheson's departure for the Sooner State, Alan York of the Liberty Flames Sports Network had the chance to catch up with the Liberty junior to discuss the upcoming tournament.
Matheson, currently ranked a career best No. 93 in the latest ITA National Rankings, became the first Liberty Flame in program history to qualify for the NCAA singles championship after receiving an invitation on May 4 as one of 14 automatic qualifiers. Matheson is just the ninth Big South competitor to receive a bid and the first since Philippe Tsangaridis of Coastal Carolina in 2014.
Matheson finished the spring season with an 18-1 overall record, pacing the Big South conference. The New Zealand native also notched a program-best 28 singles victories between the fall and spring seasons. Matheson posted the second-best single-season winning percentage in program history with a 28-5 (.848) overall record. The Liberty junior currently ranks 8th in program history with 50 career wins in two seasons and is also currently second in career winning percentage with a 50-19 (.725) overall mark.
Matheson was named Liberty's first-ever Big South Player of the Year on April 13 prior to the Big South Championship. In addition to the player of the year honors, the New Zealand native was also named to the Big South Singles First Team All-Conference and Big South Doubles First Team All-Conference.
The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 25-30 at the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla., following the conclusion of the team championship which runs from May 19-24.
All matches will be the best-of-three sets. No-ad scoring and a seven-point tiebreaker at six-games-all will be used for all matches. There are 14 automatic qualifiers, 50 at-large selections and eight alternates for the championship.
Automatic qualification into the Division I singles championships is awarded to any conference with one or more eligible singles players ranked in the ITA Top 125. All singles players must have a minimum of 13 completed singles matches, with six matches in the spring in order to be selected as an automatic qualifier or an at-large selection.
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