WHAT'S AHEAD In its first action in more than two weeks, No. 17 Drake travels to Florida for a pair of matches to begin the Bulldogs' Spring Break trip. Drake first visits DeLand, Fla., for an encounter with Stetson on Monday (March 18) before trekking across the state to Tampa, Fla., to battle South Florida on Tuesday (March 19). Match times are slated for 1:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. CT, respectively.
A LOOK BACK
Drake extended its winning streak to 13 straight as the Bulldogs registered road victories over Iowa, No. 66 Minnesota and No. 14 Washington on Feb. 27, March 1 and March 2, respectively.
Drake 5, Iowa 2 (Feb. 27, 2013)
DES MOINES, Iowa - Drake captured a 5-2 victory in its in-state showdown at Iowa.
The Bulldogs set the stage for their 11th consecutive triumph earning wins in two of the three doubles matches to secure the doubles tally.
Overcoming a 5-4 deficit en route to notching a 9-8 victory over Jonas Dierckx and Matt Hagan to earn the doubles point for the Bulldogs at No. 2 were sophomore Alen Salibasic (Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina) and freshman Ben Lott (Newcastle, England).
Senior James McKie (Edinburgh, Scotland) extended Drake's lead to 2-0 winning at the No. 1 singles slot, 6-4, 6-2.
Pushing the margin to 3-0 was senior Jean Erasmus (Windhoek, Namibia) at No. 6, 6-3, 6-4.
Dominic Patrick garnered the initial tally for the Hawkeyes in the affair cutting Drake's lead to 3-1, at No. 5.
After collecting a 6-4 decision in his opening set versus Garret Dunn on court No. 3, Salibasic came from behind in the second frame to notch a 7-6 (5) triumph to clinch the match for the Bulldogs.
Sophomore Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England) capped the win total for Drake registering a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory at the No. 5 position.
Drake 4, Minnesota 3 (March 1, 2013)
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - A come-from-behind three-set singles victory from Jean Erasmus sparked No. 27 Drake to a dramatic 4-3 victory over No. 66 Minnesota.
Clinching the doubles tally on the No. 2 court was the tandem of Ben Lott and James McKie, who bettered Rok Bonin and Juan Pablo Ramirez, 8-4.
Junior Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England) kicked off singles for Drake besting Jack Hamburg at the No. 3 position, 6-3, 6-2, to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 2-0.
Minnesota erased the deficit on the strength of consecutive triumphs at the Nos. 1, 2 and 6 positions to assume a 3-2 lead.
After dropping his first set versus Mathieu Froment on the No. 4 court, Alen Salibasic began Drake's comeback staging a 1-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 victory to square the affair at three.
Erasmus also fell in his initial set, 6-2, against Ramirez at No. 5, but displaying the fortitude of a senior he claimed the next two frames, including 7-6 (1) in the second set, to garner the win, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4.
Drake 4, Washington 3 (March 2, 2013)
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Drake added another monumental victory in program history when the No. 27 Bulldogs knocked off No. 14 Washington, 4-3.
The outlook looked challenging for the Bulldogs after the Huskies claimed wins at the top-two doubles positions to assume a 1-0 lead.
Alen Salibasic evened the affair at one after opening singles action with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph at the No. 4 hole.
In a battle of nationally-ranked foes on the Nos. 1 and 2 courts, Washington proved victorious at both positions to regain a 3-1 lead.
The Bulldogs were not daunted by the deficit as Jean Erasmus brought Drake to within one, 3-2, after registering a 6-1, 6-4 win at the No. 5 slot. Robin Goodman netted the equalizer on the No. 3 court in three sets, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4.
After dropping his initial set against Jeff Hawke, Ben Lott rallied to claim a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 triumph to give the Bulldogs the victory.
Washington was the highest-ranked opponent Drake has knocked off in school history.
BULLDOGS NO. 17 IN ITA RANKINGS
On the strength of three Bulldogs owning national singles rankings, Drake is rated No. 17 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll.
Coming off its fifth regular season MVC title in the last six campaigns and second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Drake, which equaled a school record for victories with a 24-3 mark last season, returns eight letterwinners from a squad that finished the spring campaign with a No. 47 national ranking.
Seniors Anis Ghorbel and James McKie along with sophomore Alen Salibasic, each maintained a national singles rankings when the latest rating were released on March 12. The trio is rated No. 50, No. 121 and No. 125, respectively.
Also garnering regional recognition in singles were Ghorbel, McKie, Alen Salibasic, Ben Mullis, Robin Goodman and freshman Ben Lott, who were tabbed second, seventh, 11th, 12th, 19th and 20th, respectively, in the ITA Central Region. In doubles, Ghorbel and McKie were rated No. 2 in the region.
Sophomore Grant Tesmer (Lincoln, Neb.) is a perfect 10-0 in his last 10 singles contests, while Robin Goodman, Ben Lott and Alen Salibasic own 9-1, 9-1 and 8-2 marks, respectively, over the same span.
With his win at No. 1 singles at Iowa, James McKie registered his 100th career singles victory.
Jean Erasmus is nearing 100 singles triumphs as well as he enters the week with a 90-27 career singles ledger.
Led by an 11-2 singles record from Salibasic, all but one Bulldog owns a winning mark in singles during the dual campaign.
Every Drake player sports a winning record in doubles this spring, including a team-best 10-4 record courtesy of Salibasic.
Goodman and Salibasic share the team lead with 26 singles wins, while McKie is one off the pace with 25 victories.
McKie, Goodman and Salibasic pace the Bulldogs with 22, 20 and 19 doubles triumphs, respectively.
McKie directs Drake with a 47-13 combined singles/doubles ledger. He is followed by Goodman (46-10), Salibasic (45-14), Erasmus (31-11), Anis Ghorbel (30-14), Ben Mullis (29-10), Lott (28-8) and Tesmer (23-8).
No Drake player in either singles or doubles has suffered double-digit setbacks.
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.
Following its showdowns in the Sunshine State, Drake travels to San Diego, Calif., to compete in the eight-team Hilton San Diego Mission Valley Spring Classic (March 21-23). The field includes; Denver, Drake, Harvard, Memphis, Oklahoma State, San Diego, San Diego State and UAB. Pairings will be set following the release of the ITA rankings on March 20.