May 22, 2007
ATHENS, Ga. - UC Santa Barbara freshman Philip Therp will play Rice University's No. 1 player Ben Harknett, in the first round of the NCAA Championships at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., the NCAA announced Tuesday. The match will begin at 9:30 a.m. (PST) on Wednesday, May 23.
Therp, the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year despite missing much of the season with a broken left wrist, is the ninth Gaucho to ever take part in the NCAA's men's individual championship tournament. He is the lone Big West representative at the tournament.
Therp broke his wrist in a February 9 match against Boise State and when he returned in late March, he was limited to playing with one hand, greatly limiting his backhand. He has, however, been cleared to play with both hands for the first time since the injury.
"Thankfully Philip has finally recovered from surgery to his wrist," said UCSB head coach Marty Davis. "He is hitting two-handed backhands for the first time since February and that could make for an interesting match. I think this is a pretty good draw for Philip. Harknett is a big server and Philip is very good at returning service, so we feel good about it."
Therp is the first Gaucho to participate in the NCAA singles championships since Carlos Palencia did so in 2002. Two UCSB players, Kip Brady in 1989 and David Decret in 1995, have earned All-American honors at the tournament. Brady won three matches and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing. Liszlo Markovits, Alex Decret, Jong-Min Lee, Cory Guy and Simon Shen have also participated.
The match between Therp and Harknett can be followed by logging on to www.georgiadogs.com