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Owls draw Norse in NCAA Tournament opener

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On Monday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that the Kenyon College Owls will travel to Saint Louis, Missouri, to line up against the Luther College Norse in the opening round of the 2024 NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship. Kenyon will be hoping to start and finish its run in the 49-team tournament at the same place, as the Owls will begin competition on Thursday, May 9, at the campus of Washington University in Saint Louis, which will also host the team championship finals from May 21-24 at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center.

Kenyon is part of the national bracket for a second straight season, the program’s 24th overall NCAA Tournament appearance. The Owls enter the field riding a nine-dual winning streak, a 14-6 overall record, and the No. 24 spot in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings. The team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by claiming the North Coast Athletic Conference’s (NCAC) Tournament Championship on Sunday, downing No. 26-ranked Denison University 6-0 for Kenyon’s second straight NCAC Tournament title.

Luther landed its spot by winning the American Rivers Conference Tournament, taking down Coe College in the league finale to claim the conference’s automatic bid. The Norse are ranked No. 49 in the 50-team ITA poll, and the program has posted a 19-5 record this season.

The first-round matchup marks the ninth time that Kenyon and Luther will match up on the tennis court. Kenyon holds a 6-2 edge in the all-time series with Luther, which dates back to 1993, but the Norse notched a win in the teams’ most recent matchup, prevailing 5-1 when the teams played in 2012 at the Midwest Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin.

The winner of the Kenyon and Luther match will face the winner of the first-round matchup between Sewanee and Concordia University Wisconsin. Sewanee, ranked No. 21 in the ITA poll, secured a spot in the NCAA DIII Championship by claiming the program’s 10th straight Southern Athletic Association Championship. The Tigers are 16-7 this season, including a 6-3 win over Kenyon in Malibu, California, earlier this year. Unranked CUW enters the NCAA Tournament with a 21-6 record, and the Falcons earned the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference’s (NACC) automatic bid after winning a second straight NACC crown.

After the four teams battle it out, three possible matchups await in the Elite Eight. Hosting WashU (17-4), ranked No. 6, earned a first-round bye and awaits the winner of a dual between No. 23-ranked Grinnell College (23-4) and unranked Principia College (12-6).

All match times are still to be determined and will be announced as soon as information is available.

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