Western Michgan to play at Michigan in NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament

Updated 4/29/2008
Story courtesy of Western Michigan University athletic media relations 

KALAMAZOO -- The NCAA announced today that Western Michigan will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to play No. 16 Michigan in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament on Saturday, May 10 at 11 a.m.

"I think we have a great opportunity," Western Michigan senior and First Team All-Mid-American Conference honoree Alex Birchmeier said. "It's close to home so hopefully we'll have a lot of fans make the trip. I know the match is at Michigan, but that's almost in our backyard too."

"I think we're all looking forward to playing Michigan again after losing to them in January," 2008 MAC Coach of the Year Dave Morin said. "They've got a very good team and we'll have our work cut out for us, but we are familiar with them and they're familiar with us, so I think it will be a good matchup."

The Broncos (20-7) are going to their third-straight NCAA Tournament and sixth overall after defeating Ball State, 4-0, in the MAC Tournament finals on Saturday. WMU will be joined in the regional by No. 17 Texas Tech (19-5) and No. 51 Harvard (15-6).

This will not be the first meeting this season between the Broncos and the Wolverines (18-6). The two teams met in Muncie, Ind., on Jan. 26 with UM pulling out a 7-0 victory over WMU. The Broncos picked up a win at No. 3 doubles as Casey Cullen and Kevin Hayward defeated Peter Aarts and Andrew Mazlin 8-4.

The Broncos lost a pair of match tiebreakers in singles as Chris Madden knocked off WMU's Alejandro Staub 0-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10) at No. 6 and Michael Calderone lost to George Navas 7-6 (5), 1-6, 1-0 (7) at No. 5.

In the four straight set defeats, each Bronco lost one set in a tiebreaker in the first dual match of the season for Michigan and the fourth for WMU.

"We're all excited to be playing Michigan again," Ann Arbor native and First Team All-MAC honoree Kevin Hayward said. "We're a better team now than the first time we played. I like our team and think we have a chance to do well."