Pacific tennis prepares for postseason NIT tournaments

(L) Tomi Main and (R) Terence Das

(L) Tomi Main and (R) Terence Das

For the first time since 2000, both University of the Pacific tennis programs will compete in the postseason in the same year as the Tigers accepted bids to the Universal Tennis Rating National Invitational Tournament at IMG Academy May 5-8 in Bradenton, Florida.

It caps historic seasons for both the men and women, who each finished third in the West Coast Conference. The Tigers earned several postseason accolades including a Coach of the Year honor for men’s head coach Robin Goodman, the program’s first since 2016.

“It is very exciting to be playing a postseason event like this. It’s an opportunity for us to continue to learn and grow, as well as get more experience playing top level college tennis,” Goodman said.

Under Goodman, the men were ranked as high as No. 47 in the nation after stringing together a 14-match winning streak. It included a 4-3 victory over No. 13 San Diego.

Junior Justas Trainauskas ’25, who played primarily at No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles, expressed similar excitement.

“After an amazing season, we aim to end it on the right note by giving our all on the court,” Trainauskas said. “The chemistry that we have in the locker room is truly amazing, and that's what matters most to us. We simply love competing alongside each other and couldn't be happier to have one last opportunity to do so this season."

On the women’s side, Pacific captured 14 wins on the season, the most for the program in more than two decades. The Tigers made their debut in the WCC Tournament since returning to the league in 2013 and knocked out Portland 4-0 in the quarterfinals.

“The invite to the NIT is an incredible opportunity and a testament to our group's work through this breakout season,” head women’s coach Mike Erwin said. “We’re definitely looking forward to competing on this national stage and will approach it with confidence from preparation like we have each match this year. The NIT is going to be a special event.”

The Tigers ended the regular season by winning six of their last seven matches. They’ll participate in an NIT field that features several notable programs including Colorado, West Virginia, and WCC counterpart Saint Mary’s.

“The season has been filled with hard work, so reaching the NIT feels incredibly rewarding,” junior Tomi Main ’25 shared. “While it's a significant achievement for both the team and the university, I’m convinced we can surpass it. Making it to the NIT marks progress towards our future goals, but as a competitor, I’m always hungry for more. I’m thrilled to showcase our talents in Florida and to push ourselves to the limit in the postseason.”

Including this year, Pacific has a combined seven appearances in postseason tournaments since 1999. The women advanced to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons in 1999-00, while the men went back-to-back in 2000-01. The last time the men made a postseason tournament was in 2004.

In only its second year, the UTR Sports NIT hosts the top-eight men’s and women’s teams for a shot at a title while offering valuable postseason experience. The tournament runs similarly to other team based knockout formats­­.

The men’s side features five nationally ranked teams. Top-seeded Tulsa, ranked No. 69, fellow WCC member No. 60 Santa Clara, No. 67 Northwestern and No. 55 Liberty all play alongside No. 57 Pacific.

“The team is thrilled to be getting more opportunities against strong opponents. It’s great for our culture. They have truly worked hard all year, and I am happy they get to experience a special event like this after a long season,” Goodman said.

In addition to Goodman’s Coach of the Year accolade, other notable awards included senior Peter Alam ’24 being named All-WCC First Team in singles and doubles alongside Trainauskas. Senior Klara Kosan ’24 from the women’s team took home her fourth All-WCC Singles Second Team honor in a row. She, alongside doubles partner Main ’25, were named doubles second team, putting Kosan on second team in doubles in back-to-back years.

The men will square off with Eastern Kentucky in the quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, while the women will face West Virginia at 1:30 p.m. Monday. All matches will be streamed on Prime Video, which is free for Amazon Prime members. Click here to read more about the NIT.