April 16, 2013
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The seeds and bracket for the BIG EAST Championship were announced on Monday night and Villanova (6-13) has drawn the No. 15 seed in the conference tournament. This is the first conference tournament appearance since 2000 for the Wildcats, who will play a first round match against No. 2 seed USF on Thursday morning. The Bulls are the host team for the conference tournament, which is being held on the Varsity Courts in Tampa.
Villanova heads to the BIG EAST Championship after going 6-13 (.316) during the regular season. The strength of the Wildcats has been in doubles play, where the team has an overall winning record for the season. Villanova is 42-41 in doubles matches and went 24-28 in doubles against dual competition.
Junior Mikelle Mancini (Salt Lake City, Utah) and freshman Tori Smyth (Stamford, Conn.) form a strong team at the No. 1 doubles position. The pair went 8-9 playing together in dual matches and both players have a total of 13 doubles victories for the season.
The tandem of sophomore Sydney West (Washington, D.C.) and freshman Allison Kuse (Marietta, Ga.) combined to go 7-9 in dual matches during the regular season. They are on a roll entering the postseason, having won four straight matches. Kuse established herself as one of the team's top doubles players during the fall, when she registered a 6-3 record in three fall tournaments. She is 14-12 (.538) overall in doubles matches this season.
In singles play the Wildcats have been led by an outstanding season from Smyth, who has been a staple at the No. 2 spot in the lineup. She is 15-9 (.625) overall for the season and went 9-6 (.600) in dual matches, including victories in three of her last four matches. Mancini has played all 19 matches at the No. 1 spot in the singles lineup. She is 9-17 overall for the season and won five matches in dual competition.
Villanova will face a Bulls team in the quarterfinals which is 12-7 (.632) on the season. USF has won seven of its last nine matches entering the conference tournament and will be playing on its home court on campus. Thursday's opening round match will begin at 9 a.m., and the winner will advance to the quarterfinals against either No. 7 seed Georgetown or No. 10 seed Pittsburgh. The loser will be relegated to the consolation bracket.
The BIG EAST Championship is a double-elimination format and the tournament champion receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.