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Troy set to face Auburn in NCAA tournament

After winning the Sun Belt Conference Championship last week, the Troy tennis team now knows where it will be playing in its next match, and more importantly against whom.

The NCAA Tournament selection process took place on Tuesday afternoon and when it was all said and done, the Trojans found themselves pitted against a familiar foe – Auburn University.

This will be the third time the two teams have met this season, the first coming during the fall season and once during the spring season.

Both times, Auburn came away the victor.

Troy will enter the tournament in the Gainesville bracket as a No. 3 seed thanks to a 20-4 overall record and 55th ranking.

Auburn enters as a No. 2 seed, with a 11-12 overall record and the 31st ranking.

The seeding was just what Troy head coach Eric Hayes was hoping for.

“We were hoping for a three or a four seed,” he said Tuesday.

“In a tournament like this, where you are one and done if you lose, the seeding makes all the difference.”

Tuesday was a big day for Hayes.

Along with the selections, the Sun Belt Conference also named him as the Coach of the Year.

“I have to give all the credit to my assistant coaches and the players,” he said. “They did all the work.”

“People that know me know that I don’t really care about things like that. Winning the conference and making it into the tournament is much more important to me.”

Now, Hayes and his team will prepare to add a few more wins to this season.

“This was one of goals at the beginning of the season,” the coach said.

“I think our guys are ready to play. By the time we hi the court, it will almost have been a two and a half weeks since we last played.

“Practice has been going well, but the important thing is that we have to keep our intensity and focus going into the tournament,” Hayes added.

Earlier this season, the Trojans put together an 11-game winning streak that helped propel them to this point in the season and that is something that junior Mario Rolemberg hopes his team is able to capture again.

“We want to make history one more time,” the MVP of the conference tournament said.

“We don’t want to be satisfied with what we have already done, we want to do everything we can to keep the season going.”

The two Alabama schools will meet next Friday, May 14, with the winner facing either South Carolina or Florida.