INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After falling in the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis singles championship match a year ago, Nicholas Ballou will have another shot at becoming Cal Lutheran’s seond tennis national champion with the tournament field being unveiled Thursday morning. The senior qualified for the tournament after an undefeated season and will be joined by teammate Ray Worley who will be making his second straight trip to the national championships.
The duo also qualified as a team for the doubles portion of the tournament.
In a field of 32 competitors, Ballou enters the NCAA tournament as the West Region’s No. 1 overall singles seed. The Orinda, Calif. native is a perfect 25-0 on the season including an 8-0 record in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). Playing one of the tougher regular season schedules in the country, Ballou owns wins over every other singles player ranked in the top five of the West Region. In a remarkable statistic, of all of Ballou’s wins, the senior has only been forced to a decisive third set just twice this season with both coming against Warren Wood of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Joining Ballou is Worley, the No. 11 ranked singles player in the West Region. The senior from San Mateo, Calif. is 20-4 this season while primarily playing as CLU’s No. 2. The 2012 All-American has defeated five opponents ranked in the top twenty of their respective regions including two wins over No. 8 Joe Dorn of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Worley is currently the second winningest singles player in Cal Lutheran history, boasting a career record of 71-24.
When the tournament shifts to doubles, Ballou will pair with Worley to make run at a national championship after being eliminated in the quarterfinals a year ago. Together, Ballou and Worley have earned the No. 1 ranking in the West Region and a 22-2 record. Earlier this season, the tandem ripped off a 16-match win streak en route to capturing the Ojai Valley Tournament championship. Over the last three years, Ballou and Worley have been one of the most prolific doubles pairing, compiling a record of 50-9.
The SCIAC will be well represented again at the NCAA tournament this year with four singles players qualifying. Besides Ballou and Worley, Wood of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Patrick Lipscomb of Redlands will also compete for the national title.
Joining Ballou and Worley in the doubles competition will be the Stags’ Wood and Dorn as well as Pomona-Pitzer’s duo of Frankie Allinson and Max Sabel.
No. 5 Cal Lutheran also earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament as a team. Competition in the West Regionals will begins Saturday, May 11, at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center on the campus of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Kingsmen will face No. 12 UC Santa Cruz at 10:00 a.m. Both live stats and video streaming will be available throughout regional.