The Lady Hawks will square off with No. 21 Bethel (Kan.) in the tournament’s opening round on Tuesday.
The winner will advance take on fifth-seeded Azusa Pacific, which earned a first round bye as one of the tournament’s top eight seeds, in the Round of 16 that begins on Wednesday at 9 am.
Shorter (20-8) is making its 10th appearance in the NAIA tournament and first since 2010 after the Lady Hawks came up just short of a bid last season.
The Lady Hawks earned the seventh of 12 at-large bids to this year’s event and are looking to improve upon their 8-9 all-time record in the national tournament.
Bethel (15-5) enters the national event as the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament champion and is making a fourth appearance at the championships.
Bethel has never won a national tournament match.
Bethel owns an 0-3 all-time mark at nationals, which includes a 9-0 loss to Shorter in the first round of the 2010 NAIA tourney.
Shorter’s road to a potential first national championship is eerily similar to the one it faced in 2010.
Following their win over Bethel in the first round that year, the Lady Hawks were matched up with Azusa Pacific, which dealt Shorter a season-ending 5-0 defeat in the Round of 16.
Shorter hopes this season’s matchup with the Lady Cougars will be different.
in the Round of 16 is on the horizon, but with a different result than the 2010 outcome.
Like Shorter, Azusa Pacific (18-3), a storied program still in search of a first women’s tennis national championship despite 13 national tournament appearances, is headed for NCAA Division II in 2012-2013. Only Auburn-Montgomery, Indiana Wesleyan and Point Loma have as many national tournament appearances on their resumes as Azusa Pacific.
The 2012 NAIA tourney begins from May 15-19 at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. The championship match is set for Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m.