The 15th-ranked Bears have won 11 straight season openers
WACO, Texas - The 15th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team will open the 2013 dual-match season by facing Hawai'i on Saturday at 6 a.m. (CT) in Honolulu at the UH Tennis Complex.
"We feel really good about the team we have," head coach Matt Knoll said. "I think the guys that were here last year have improved a lot and the guys we have brought in will be an asset to us this year."
In 2013, Baylor returns six letterwinners from a squad that was 19-12 and reached the NCAA round of 16 for an 11th straight season.
The Bears have three ranked singles players including sophomore Marko Krickovic at No. 50. Freshman Julian Lenz is No. 53 and sophomore Mate Zsiga is ranked 60th. Krickovic and partner Robert Verzaal makeup the lone BU tandem to be ranked at No. 47.
Lenz is one of three players on Baylor's roster that haven't played in a dual-match. While Lenz played in fall tournaments for BU, Patrick Pradella and Tony Lupieri joined the team to start the new year.
"This match will be big for our new guys as they play a dual-match for the first time," Knoll said. "We are going to be open-minded about a lineup and see how it shakes out."
Other returning letterwinners for the Bears include Diego Galeano, Robbie Korth, Roberto Maytin and Robert Verzaal.
Baylor is 1-0 all-time vs. the Warriors, after the Bears downed Hawai'i, 5-0, on Jan. 6, 2007.
BU has won 11-straight spring dual-match openers dating back to a 2001 loss to 16th-ranked SMU on the road. Under Knoll, Baylor is 14-2 to start the season and overall in program history the Bears are 27-16. During the month of January, the Bears have produced a 31-7 record under Knoll.
Hawai'i is 0-1 on the season, after losing to fifth-ranked Duke, 7-0, on Wednesday. John Nelson is in his ninth season as head coach as the Warriors begin their first season as a member of the Big West Conference.
Hawai'i is led by junior Jonathan Brooklyn who is ranked No. 90 in the ITA preseason poll. He finished the 2012 season winning six of eight results and, with doubles partner Dmytro Kovalyov, closed the season winning seven of his last eight matches.
After returning from Hawai'i, select BU players will compete in the Sherwood Collegiate Cup, Jan. 18-21. Baylor's next dual-match will be on Jan. 25 vs. SMU at 7 p.m. The contest against the Mustangs will be contested in the Jim and Nell Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center as part of the facility's grand opening.