By Doug Gorman
The Peach Belt Conference might just be the toughest Division II tennis league in the country.
With Armstrong Atlantic, the defending two-time NCAA National Champions in both men and women's tennis leading the way, the Peach Belt Conference is loaded with top talent.
Local tennis fans will get the chance to see for themselves just how strong the league is when Clayton State University plays host to the PBC tournament over the next three days at the Clayton County Tennis Center located on the grounds of Atlanta Beach.
Admission is free.
The tournament, which begins at noon today, features the No. 12th-ranked Clayton State women's team taking part in the field of eight.
Semi-final matches are Saturday, with the fi nals Sunday.
According to Clayton State Athletic Director Mason Barfield, getting a chance to host the league tennis tournament is a big deal.
"Anytime you can host something like this, it brings people to your campus and area. The Beach is a great facility with 17 courts, so we should be able to handle it well."
Clayton State comes into the event seeded No. 3 in the league and takes on No. 6-seed Augusta State at 2 p.m.
The Lakers comes into the tournament with a 14-6 record. The Lakers have won their last three matches in a row, including beating Breneau, Montevallo and Georgia College.
Clayton State is hosting the tournment for the second year in a row.
"We have some great teams in this league, and we are happy we are getting the chance to host this tournament," Clayton State coach Tamaz Szabados said. "Our goals it to play well and get hopefully get out of the region."
The Lakers are led by of junior NCAA Division II All-Americans Viktoriya Semyrodenko and Katie White.
The rest of the CSU roster includes other international players, including Jessica Budd, Maride Cercelletti, Evelin Csizi, Charlottee Fabricius and Ivana Krommeiova.
First-round tournament action:
No. 8 Lander vs. No. 1 Armstrong Atlantic (Noon)
No. 4 Francis Marion vs. No. 5 Flager (2 p.m)
No. 3 Clayton State vcs. No. 6 Augusta State (2 p.m)
No. 7 GCSU vs No. 2 Columbus State (2 p.m.)
No. 8 USC Aiken vs No.1 Armstrong Atlantic (Noon)
No. 4 Francis Marion vs No. 5 Flagler (5 p.m)
No. 3 GCSU vs No. 6 Lander (5 p.m.)
No. 7 Augusta State vs No. 2 Columbus State (5 p.m).