Gearing up to play in its first-ever Great West Conference Women's Tennis Championships, CSU Bakersfield has been dealt the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 University of Texas-Pan American in the first round of the tournament on Saturday at the HEB Tennis Center in Harlingen, Texas.

The 'Runners (0-11, 0-1 GWC) will take on the host Broncs (2-12, 1-0 GWC) at noon on Saturday. The winner of that match advances to face No. 2 Seattle (12-13, 1-0 GWC) at 6 p.m. for the right to play for the championship on Sunday at noon. Seattle, along with No. 1-seeded NJIT, received first-round byes in the tournament.

The 'Runners and Broncs faced each other earlier this season in CSUB's only GWC showdown of the regular season and UTPA won 5-2 on Feb. 18 at Stockdale Country Club. Recording singles victories for CSUB were junior Julian Mannix (Santa Barbara, Calif., San Marcos HS), who defeated Blanca G. Izaguirre 6-2, 6-1, and freshman Nelli Buiuklianova (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, AUVK 6), who beat Cindy Sands 6-2, 6-2. Buiuklianova has since suffered a torn ACL and was forced to undergo season-ending surgery.

The tournament marks the first out-of-state trip for the 'Runners this season.

"We are very happy to be able to travel finally and do some team bonding," said CSUB head coach Regina Csibi-Krueger. "We had a very difficult season, but are excited to be able to participate in the Great West Conference Championship. We are hurting without Nelli, but we will give it our best shot."

The Broncs won the Great West Conference Championship as the No. 4 seed in 2010 and finished in fourth place as the second seed in 2011.

The other first-round match features No. 4 North Dakota (2-16, 0-2 GWC) and No. 5 Chicago State (5-16, 0-1 GWC) on Saturday at 9 a.m. The winner of that match advances to face top-seeded NJIT (19-3, 2-0 GWC) at 3 p.m. The third-place and fifth-place matches will occur simultaneously on Sunday at 9 a.m.

The UTPA athletic department contributed to this report.

~www.GoRunners.com~