The Phoenix (20-3) are the No. 6 seed in the 24-team field, with the Top 8 seeds all receiving first-round byes. Cumberland defeated then fifth-ranked Northwestern Ohio in Lebanon, 6-3, on March 26 this season.
This marks the fifth appearance in the NAIA Championships for the men and the first since 2014 when the Phoenix reached the national quarterfinals before falling to eventual national champion Georgia Gwinnett, 5-2.
A potential matchup with conference rival Lindsey Wilson awaits Cumberland in the quarterfinals. The Blue Raiders have defeated CU twice this season by scores of 5-4 in both matches – once on April 9 at LWC and again April 28 in Bowling Green, Ky., a match delayed a week earlier because of rain.
Women garner at-large berth
Cumberland women’s tennis earned an at-large berth into the 38th annual NAIA Championships in Mobile, Ala., and will face Middle Georgia State in the first round May 15, as announced Tuesday by the national office.
The Phoenix, 13-10 overall, received the No. 21 seed in the 24-team field, with the top 8 seeds all earning first-round byes. Cumberland lost 5-1 to Middle Georgia State on March 4 this season in Macon, Ga., during a stretch of five matches in four days for the club at the beginning of Spring Break.
It marks the fifth all-time appearance for the Phoenix in the national tournament and first since 2016 when CU dropped a 5-4 decision to Olivet Nazarene. Cumberland also lost in the first round in 2013 and the team’s last victory in the national tournament was in 2008 against Bethany College.