Here is a preview of this weekend's MAC men's tennis action.
Men's Tennis at Home for Two Matches Saturday
The Ball State men's tennis team will now host its second doubleheader of the week Saturday, facing Big Ten foe No. 50 Michigan State at 1 p.m. and then Anderson University at 5:30. The Spartans are currently 4-6 overall. This will be the first match Anderson has played this spring. Ball State is coming off of a doubleheader victory after beating two in-state rivals, IPFW (5-2) and Indiana Tech (7-0) Wednesday night at the Muncie YMCA Tennis Center. With the wins, the Cardinals improved to 6-4 overall.
"We did what we had to do get a couple wins Wednesday. We had some guys coming off injuries and illness who were a little rusty but it was good to get a couple matches under our belt as we look to Saturday. Michigan State has had a great start to their season as evidenced by their number 50 national ranking. It will be a big challenge for us but we are happy to play a quality opponent here at home."
Ball State will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., where it will face UNLV Thursday, March 7. The Cardinals then play UC-Irvine (March 7) and close out their spring trip against Air Force (March 9).
Men's Tennis Opens Home Schedule This Weekend
BUFFALO, NY – They were playing tournaments on the road during the fall and have spent the last month traveling through Central New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland but finally this weekend University at Buffalo men's tennis team gets the chance to play at its home indoor facility as the Bulls host Niagara and Duquesne.
UB takes on local rival Niagara on Friday, February 22 at 6:00 pm and hosts Duquesne on Saturday, February 23 at 9:30 am. Both matches will be played at UB's home indoor venue, the Miller Tennis Center, a few miles off campus in Williamsville.
The Bulls are 3-2 in the spring dual season with their only losses coming against Ivy League opponents Penn and Cornell, ranked 73rd in the nation. UB downed Cleveland State, 4-3, in its last match on February 16.
Following the fall tournament schedule, head coach Lee Nickell brought in three new freshmen and a transfer to bolster his lineup and the results have been positive.
Sebastian Ionescu played the 2011-12 season at the University of Arizona, where he saw action in the number six singles slot for the Wildcats. At UB, Ionescu is playing third singles and has turned in a 4-1 mark thus far. His three-set win over Cleveland State's Ali Shabib turned out to be the clincher for the Bulls over the Vikings.
Freshmen Pablo Alvarez and Ashwin Sharma have also been inserted into the singles lineup, splitting time between fourth and fifth doubles. Nickell also made Sharma and Spanish newcomer Sergio Arevalillo his number three doubles squad for the Cleveland State match and the duo delivered a victory to help the Bulls gain the opening point of the contest.
Another freshman, Akhil Mehta, joined the program in the fall. For the spring season, Mehta has combined with sophomore Damien David, the 2012 Mid-American Conference Newcomer of the Year when he was a first-year player, to comprise the Bulls' top doubles duo. The pair are 4-1 this spring.
At the top of the singles lineup, senior Vusa Hove leads the Bulls with 10 wins this season, including eight during the tournament season. David is second on the squad with seven wins.
"This weekend is another good test for us," said Nickell. "Both Niagara and Duquesne are well coached and much improved from last year. These matches will be tight and it will be great preparation for the upcoming MAC season."
Friday's match against Niagara will be the 102nd meeting between the Bulls and Purple Eagles. UB holds a 97-3-1 lead in the all-time series with the last Bulls' loss coming on September 19, 1999 at the St. Bonaventure Invitational. The Bulls have claimed the previous 11 contests since that loss. UB and Duquesne have been rivals since their first matchup on February 14, 1992, UB's inaugural Division I campaign. The Dukes lead the all-time series 11-10, though the Bulls have won the last four meetings.
Home Cooking This Weekend: The Bulls open their home schedule this weekend as they hosts Niagara on Friday and Duquesne on Saturday at the Miller Tennis Center. Friday's match against the Purple Eagles is slated for a 6:00 pm start while it's an early wakeup call of 9:00 am for Saturday's contest with the Dukes. Saturday's match preceeds the UB women's match against Temple, scheduled for 1:00 pm. The Bulls hold a 97-3-1 edge over Niagara in the all-time series while they trail Duquesne 11-10 in that series, though the Bulls have won the last four meetings.
Bulls Return to Win Column: The University at Buffalo men's tennis team picked up a 4-3 victory at Cleveland State on Saturday afternoon at the Chagrin Valley Athletic Club to snap a two-match losing streak.
Ionescu Scores the Decider: The Bulls (3-2) picked up the win over the Vikings with three singles victories after claiming the opening doubles point. Sophomore Sebastian Ionescu scored the clincher in the number three contest. Ionescu needed three sets to down Ali Shabib, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and give the Bulls the match. It was Ionescu's fourth win of the dual season since the sophomore transferred to Buffalo from Arizona. Also earning singles wins were Damien David at number two and Pablo Alvarez at number four as both players won in straight sets. David knocked off Matt Kuelker, 6-4, 6-2 while Alvarez, who moved up from the fifth slot, downed Joe Vanmeter, 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles Lineup Juggling Gets the Point: Buffalo clinched the opening doubles point with wins in the number one and three matches as the team used a pair of new combinations for the first time this season. David and Akhil Mehta downed Shabib and Niklas Johnson, 8-4, in the number one match. David leads the Bulls with 11 doubles wins this season and he and Mehta are 4-1 as the number one combo for the squad this spring. Sergio Arevalillo and Ashwin Sharma combined for the first time this season as the duo knocked off Matt Ford and Jorg van der Vloet, 8-6, in the number three match. Vusa Hove and Ionescu combined at number two as they dropped an 8-6 decision to CSU's Vanmeter and Nolan Marks.
A Nickell's Worth: Head coach Lee Nickell spoke following the Cleveland State match. "We did a very good job of starting fast today in both doubles and singles, but didn't do a great job of finishing," said head coach Lee Nickell. "We are certainly pleased with beating Cleveland State for the first time and they are a very well coached and feisty team. We are excited to get back on court on Monday and continue to work on improving."
Men's Tennis Wraps-Up February with Green Bay and Western Illinois at Home
DeKALB, Ill. - With a weeks rest after a busy opening month, with eight matches played in that span, the Northern Illinois men's tennis team (6-2) will return to action Friday February 23 for matches against Green Bay (6-1) and Western Illinois (7-8), starting at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.
The Huskies split a road swing two weeks ago at Saint Louis and SIU-Edwardsville, defeating the Billikens 6-1 and falling to the Cougars, 4-3. At SLU, NIU was dominate as its only point was surrendered following Max Phillips retiring from the match.
During Sunday's match at SIUE, the Huskies dropped the doubles point to go down 1-0 early. It was a dogfight in singles as the match came down to the No. 4 spot in the lineup where Huskie Simon Formont and Jacob Tanulanond squared off for the match-winning point. Formont lost the first set 6-2 but rallied back in the second with a 6-3 win to tie the match. The tightly contested third set did not fall to Formont as he lost to Tanulanond, 7-5.
The Huskies top-three - Dor Amir, Frederic Cadieux and Axel Lagerlof - finished 2-0 in singles play on the weekend, with Cadieux extending his season-opening unbeaten streak to eight-straight matches. Cadieux is 8-0 in singles with six of his wins at No. 3 and two at No. 2. In doubles he is 4-3 with Amir at the No. 1 position.
Green Bay will enter the match with a 6-1 record that includes a win over Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan in the season-opener January 25, 4-3. The Phoenix, like the Huskies, had last weekend off after playing a pair of matches February 9 against Kenyon (W, 7-0) and UW-Whitewater (W, 5-2). Its only loss of the season came at the hands of then-No. 43 Drake, but individuals were still able to snag wins as Michael Tenzer won at No. 2 and Leopold Gomez Islinger at No. 4.
Western Illinois has played a busy schedule thus far and owns a 7-8 through the first month of competition. The Leathernecks finished last weekend 2-2, earning wins over Knox and North Dakota and losses to Toledo and then-No. 41 Drake. Bradley Holt has a team best 7-4 record, with four wins at No. 3 and two at No. 1, followed closely behind by Mitch Granger's 6-4 record with three wins at No. 5 and two at No. 3.
The matches will be Northern Illinois' final in the month of February and as it opens March with contests in Indianapolis against Butler and IUPUI March 3 and 4, respectively.
Rockets Will Challenge Marquette and Wisconsin-Green Bay This Weekend
MILWAUKEE, WI - Toledo (11-6) will hit the road for the second-consecutive weekend to play Marquette (5-3) on Saturday, Feb. 22 and Wisconsin-Green Bay (6-1) on Sunday, Feb. 23. Saturday's match start time is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. CT, while Sunday's match will begin at Noon CT.
In the previous meeting against the two schools, the Rockets swept the Golden Eagles and Phoenix in a doubleheader at Marquette on April 1, 2011.
Marquette has enjoyed playing on its home court this season, claiming victories in all five contests it has played at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium. MU has only surrendered four points in their home matches in 2012-13.
Green Bay is coming off two home victories last weekend at the Western Racquet & Fitness Club. The defending Horizon League champions have not lost a home match since March 26, 2011.
"These are two huge challenges for us because we know these teams compete hard and are very strong," UT head coach Al Wermer said. Last time we played both of them on a weekend at Marquette and went 2-0. But both are better now, and Green Bay won the Horizon last year, which has solid teams at the top for sure."
The Midnight Blue & Gold are coming off a successful road trip with victories over Western Illinois (7-0) and Bradley (6-1) on Feb. 15. UT dropped a tight 4-3 match to DePaul on Feb. 16, but received solid efforts throughout the weekend from its lineup.
Sophomore Grant Adams has been the most consistent UT performer during dual season. Adams has seen most of his action from the No. 2 singles flight, most recently going 3-0 last weekend.
Following the two matches, UT will have a quick turnaround for its Spring Break trip next week. The Rockets are scheduled to compete in the Pacific Coast Championships Feb. 28-March 3 in La Jolla, CA.
The Broncos will travel to Drake on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10:00 am ET and Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 11:00 am.
Morin Named USPTA Midwest Coach of the Year
TROY, Mich. -The United States Professional Tennis Association honored several of its top teachers, coaches, players and volunteers during the awards luncheon at the USPTA Midwest Division Conference on Tennis, with Western Michigan head men's tennis coach Dave Morin honored as the 2012 College Coach of the Year award recipient.
Morin led the Broncos to their ninth Mid-American Conference Tournament title and ninth NCAA Tournament bid in 2012, guiding them to a 17-12 record and their 16th overall MAC championship in his tenure. A 2012 inductee into the Western Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame, Morin was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 2012, the ninth time in his storied career he earned the honor from the conference and the eighth time since becoming the Broncos' head coach in 1996.
Morin has made the Broncos the gold standard in the MAC over the course of 16 seasons, leading the team to 16 total MAC championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. Morin’s tenure has been highlighted by seven regular season MAC championships (1999, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) and nine MAC Tournament championships that led to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. En route to those accomplishments, the Broncos have encountered the type of individual and team success often associated with Western Michigan’s proud tradition.
USPTA, the world's oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, has more than 11.000 members, including 1.500 internationally. Founded in 1927, the nonprofit association strives to raise the standards of the teaching profession while promoting greater awareness of the sport. USPTA offers more than 30 professional benefits, including certification and extensive educational opportunities.