Drake Tennis Hosts Drake Fall Invitational
The Drake tennis team will open its fall campaign this weekend hosting the Drake Fall Invitational at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. The seven-team event will include Creighton, Drake, Gustavus Adolphus, Iowa, Northern Colorado, North Dakota and Northern Illinois.
Action gets underway on Friday (Sept. 21) at 4:00 p.m. with doubles and will continue both Saturday (Sept. 22) and Sunday (Sept. 23) at 8:00 a.m. each day.
SIZING UP THE BULLDOGS
Drake returns five of six starters from its NCAA Tournament squad of a year ago, sparked by senior Anis Ghorbel (Sfax, Tunisia), who registered a 51-14 combined singles/doubles ledger, including a team-best 28-7 singles mark en route to being named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year.
Senior James McKie (Edinburgh, Scotland), junior Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England), sophomore Alen Salibasic (Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina), senior Jean Erasmus (Windhoek, Namibia) and sophomore Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England) contributed double-figure win totals in singles, registering 27, 27, 27, 22 and 19 wins, respectively.
In doubles, the Bulldogs received 24, 23, 22, 22 and 21 victories courtesy of Erasmus, Ghorbel, Goodman, Salibasic and McKie.
Rounding out the roster are senior Ryan Drake (Hilton Head Island, S.C), freshman Ben Lott (Newcastle, England) and sophomore Grant Tesmer (Lincoln, Neb.).
DRAKE DUO GARNERS ITA PRESEASON RANKINGS
Drake men's tennis seniors Anis Ghorbel and James McKie earned national recognition for their play when the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its national preseason singles and doubles rankings on Sept. 10.
Posting a 51-14 combined singles/doubles mark last season, including 28-7 in singles en route to being named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Ghorbel came in at No. 87 in the national singles tabulations.
In doubles, the first-team All-MVC tandem of Ghorbel and McKie, who registered a 14-5 record a year ago, checked in at No. 59 in the national rankings.
A YEAR AGO
Anis Ghorbel staked claim to the championship in the 'A' singles flight to lead Drake at the 2011 Drake Fall Invitational at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
Ghorbel dispatched Axel Lagerof of Northern Illinois, 6-2, 6-2, to corral the Bulldogs' lone singles title on the day.
The tandem of Ghorbel and Alen Salibasic went 4-0 to claim the doubles crown in the 'A' flight.
The duo opened their competition downing Jeff Carlson and Michael Moya of Northern Colorado, 8-1, before reaching the semifinal round with an 8-1 decision over Tyler Johnson and Joe MacGibbon of Gustavus Adolphus.
Ghorbel and Salibasic claimed a spot in the finals, dispatching Creighton's JT Christian and Kyle Obermeier, 8-3.
In the championship tilt, the tandem earned the crown defeating Amrik Donkena and Mya Smith-Dennis of Gustavus Adolphus, 8-6.
DRAKE HEAD COACH DAVIDSON KOZLOWSKI
Davidson Kozlowski, an assistant coach the last seven seasons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is in his first season as head men's tennis coach at Drake.
The Blazers concluded the 2011 season with a 17-9 overall record, their highest-victory total since posting 19 wins in 2000. UAB rose to as high as No. 59 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranking before concluding the campaign at No. 75.
During his tenure in Birmingham, Kozlowski spearheaded recruiting, assisted with team travel and budget management and coordinated fundraising and community outreach.
Kozlowski, 36, came to UAB after spending three years as the Director of Tennis at Birchtree Swim and Racquet Club, a position he continued to hold until his appointment at Drake.
Drake continues its fall campaign visiting Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the All-American Championships (Sept. 29-Oct. 2).