East Carolina Earns First National ITA Ranking
March 5, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - For the first time in its history, the East Carolina women's tennis program has earned a place in the national rankings as it stands No. 63 in this week's Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division I Poll according to a release from the organization late Tuesday night.
The Lady Pirates, who have raced out to an 8-0 record so far this spring, are one of five Conference USA teams listed among the top 75 teams in the nation - joining Marshall (55), UAB (57), Tulsa (58) and Rice (75).
"I think this serves as a testament to the support we have from our administration and all the hard work our players have done this season," head coach Tom Morris said. "It's certainly a good place to start, especially since we'll have the opportunity to play other ranked teams this spring."
Morris, who is in his 10th season heading the ECU women's team and ranks as the program's winningest coach, has directed the Lady Pirates to school-record win totals in four of the last five years with a 16-8 mark in 2003, a 17-9 ledger in 2005 and back-to-back 19-9 and 19-10 finishes in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
While the latest rankings reflect East Carolina's first as a team, a pair of Lady Pirates recorded the program's first national rating of any kind two seasons ago. Doubles tandem Gillie Bailey and Kirstin Buchanan stood at No. 48 among all doubles players in the March 23, 2006 poll.
ECU's current position has the Lady Pirates tied with Pac-10 member Arizona and ahead of others such as Illinois (65/Big 10), Virginia (66/ACC) and Big 12 programs Kansas State (67), Nebraska (68), Oklahoma State (69) and Texas Tech (70).
East Carolina, which will also face No. 43 Virginia Tech in Greenville Thursday and UAB on March 13 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, returns to action Wednesday when it hosts UNC Asheville and Winston-Salem State for a pair of matches at the ECU Tennis Complex.