Trio of Bears Also In Singles Listings, Along with One Doubles Team
SKILLMAN, N.J. - The Baylor men's tennis team will open the 17th-season of the Matt Knoll era ranked No. 15 as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association unveiled the first team rankings of 2013 on Thursday.
"This is probably the lowest preseason ranking we have had in a decade, but I think it is a unique challenge for our guys to move forward," Knoll said. "It is certainly the ranking we deserve based on what we did last year, but we are going to work really hard to prove we are better than that."
In 2012, the Bears posted a 19-12 record and were ranked No. 18 at the end of season. Baylor did reach the NCAA round of 16 for an 11th straight season and will welcome back six letterwinners from that squad.
BU will be looking to capture its 11th Big 12 regular season title in the last 14 years and the eighth league tournament crown in the last 12 years.
In the ITA's singles rankings, sophomore Marko Krickovic led a group of three ranked Baylor players at No. 50. Freshman Julian Lenz is No. 53 and sophomore Mate Zsiga is ranked 60th.
"I think Marko stands out," Knoll said. "He has improved, after finishing last year not ranked. He played some good tennis this fall and I look for him to have a good spring."
Krickovic was 8-3 in singles play during the fall, while Lenz posted an 11-4 record and reached the finals of the ITA Texas Regional. Zsiga will be working to improve upon a freshman campaign in which he earned All-American honors and finished ranked No. 17. The Szeged, Hungary, product tallied a 7-2 mark in fall action, while earning his second straight HEB Intercollegiate title.
Krickovic and partner Robert Verzaal makeup the lone BU tandem to be ranked at No. 47. In fall play, the pair was 10-4, including a trip to the finals of the HEB Intercollegiate.
"That doubles team played some really good tennis in the fall," Knoll said. "They didn't finish as well as we had hoped, but I think those guys are going to have a chance to make a difference for us this spring."
Baylor is one of 16 schools in the country to have both its men's and women's tennis programs ranked in the top 25. The BU women are also ranked No. 15 to start the season.
The Bears will start the 2013 dual-match season on the road with a trip to Hawai'i for a contest at 10 a.m. on