SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly will be one of six teams looking to advance to the NCAA Tournament at this week's Big West Conference Men's Tennis Championship at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The Mustangs (4-1 Big West, 9-12 overall) will open as the No. 2 seed on courts 15-20 in a semifinals match at 3 p.m. Friday. They'll face UC Santa Barbara (9-13), which topped UC Riverside (2-22) on Thursday morning, 4-2.
In the other half of the bracket, top-seeded Hawai'i (4-0, 7-11), the regular-season champion, will also have a bye until 3 p.m. Friday, when the Rainbow Warriors will take on UC Davis (14-10).
The championship will be at 9 a.m. Sunday.
The Mustangs are coming off back-to-back 4-3 wins, first against the Aggies on April 12 and then versus the Gauchos on Saturday.
"That's something that we as a team have tried to talk about all season — trying to play our best tennis on the last shot of the year," Cal Poly head coach Nick Carless said. "We've been through a lot this year and I think the guys right now are as tight as a group of tennis players can be."
Cal Poly last won the championship in 2012.
Last year, UCSB became the lowest-seeded squad (fifth) to ever win the tournament, topping Pacific 4-2 in the final.
Cal Poly had opened with a 4-0 sweep of UC Riverside in the first round before being edged 4-3 by Pacific in the semifinals.
(This season, with Pacific now in the WCC and the conference going from seven teams to six, the top two seeds both are awarded first-round byes, as was the case prior to 2013, Hawai'i's first spring in the Big West.)
Jurgen De Jager brings in the Mustangs' best singles record, as the senior is 13-3 in dual play, including 7-0 at No. 4.
Freshman Ben Donovan and senior Marco Comuzzo have alternated at the top two spots in the lineup for a majority of the season, going a combined 19-17.
In doubles, Comuzzo and fellow senior Matt Thomson have gone 10-9 on the No. 1 court, while junior Devin Barber and freshman Corey Pang are 8-4 at No. 2, with De Jager and Donovan entering 5-2 at No. 3.
Admission is free to this week's matches. The forecast for Friday is 89 degrees.