Bulldogs Face Challenging Test At Wichita State
The Bulldogs travel to Wichita State this Sunday (April 7) as the 23rd-rated Drake men’s tennis squad battles the Shockers in a 10:00 a.m. tilt.
IN OUR LAST ENCOUNTERS
Drake 4, Wichita State 1 (April 29, 2012)
OMAHA, Neb. - Jonathan Hadash wanted a chance for redemption and redeem himself he did as his 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over Tomislav Gregurovic at No. 3 singles catapulted Drake to its second-straight State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Tennis Championship title, 4-1, over Wichita State.
The Shockers took the early lead in doubles, jumping to an early 7-2 advantage at the No. 2 slot en route to posting an 8-5 decision.
The Bulldogs’ duo of Cesar Bracho and Alen Salibasic (Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina) avenged an earlier loss versus Juan Estenssoro and Erick Reyes at the No. 3 position, downing Wichita State, 8-4.
All attention then turned to the top-doubles court where Anis Ghorbel (Sfax, Tunisia) and James McKie (Edinburgh, Scotland) fell behind David Cavalcanti and Matheus Pereira, 4-3.
The duo waged a comeback that saw Drake score three of the next four tallies to assume a 6-4 advantage. The Shockers netted two of the next three points before Ghorbel put away the match-winner with a second-serve ace to garner an 8-6 victory.
Salibasic extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0 after downing Reyes on court No. 6, 6-1, 6-2.
Falling behind 4-3 in the second set, Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England) registered three unanswered tallies to dispatch Guilermo Nicol, 6-2, 6-4, and give Drake a 3-0 lead.
Wichita State cracked the scoring column with a victory at No. 2.
All attention then turned to the No. 3 court where Hadash, who suffered a loss to Gregurovic a week earlier, held a 5-2 second-set lead. Gregurovic rallied to tie the set at five before Hadash took a 6-5 advantage, serving for the match. Gregurovic again tied the set at six to force a tiebreaker. Hadash rallied to win the tiebreaker and the match.
Drake 4, Wichita State 3 (April 21, 2012)
DES MOINES, Iowa - With one swing of the racket the deed had been done as Alen Salibasic’s second-set tiebreaker victory at the No. 4 position set a tidal wave of emotions out as Drake won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season crown registering a come-from-behind 4-3 triumph past Wichita State at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
The doubles portion of the affair proved to be a fierce battle between the two sides with Drake claiming a victory at the top slot, before the Shockers took a win at No. 2.
The deciding tilt occurred on court No. 3, where Salibasic and Cesar Bracho were on the verge of earning the triumph leading 7-6, before Wichita State’s duo of Juan Estenssoro and Erick Reyes battled back to force the tiebreaker an eventually post a 9-8 (4) decision to record the doubles point.
The Bulldogs garnered dominating efforts from the top of the line-up in singles play to set the stage for their comeback.
Anis Ghorbel evened the affair at one downing Matheus Pereira at No. 1, 6-2, 6-1. James McKie put Drake ahead to stay dispatching David Cavalcanti on court No. 2, 7-6 (5), 6-0.
Jean Erasmus (Windhoek, Namibia) stretched the Bulldogs’ advantage to 3-1 after posting a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph at No. 4. The Shockers inched closer with a victory at No. 3 before the climax of the match hit its crescendo with the efforts of Salibasic.
MCKIE NAMED MVC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The Missouri Valley Conference has announced that Drake senior James McKie was chosen as the MVC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week. The honor marked the sixth time this season that a Bulldog has been recognized, while also representing the fifth such accolade in McKie’s career.
McKie sparked the Bulldogs to a 6-1 triumph last Saturday (March 30) in their MVC opener at Creighton.
He registered the clinching tallies in both singles and doubles to help Drake extend its regular-season winning streak in the MVC to 11 in a row.
In doubles, McKie paired with sophomore Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England) to garner an 8-3 decision past Brandon Lee and Sean Mathison at the No. 2 position. He then clinched the match for Drake in singles with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Mathison at the No. 1 slot.
The win in singles moved him into a tie with Mauricio Ballivian (2008-11) and Sergi Vila (2003-07) for fourth place on the all-time victory list at Drake with 194.
On the season, he sports a 55-16 combined singles/doubles ledger, the second-best mark on the team. He leads the Bulldogs in doubles wins with 26.
A LOOK BACK
Drake 6, Creighton 1 (March 30, 2013)
OMAHA, Neb. - Drake successfully opened defense of its 2012 Missouri Valley Conference championship registering a 6-1 victory past Creighton last Saturday (March 30).
The Bulldogs garnered the only point they needed in the affair sweeping all three doubles matches.
Clinching the point for Drake on the No. 2 court with an 8-3 triumph over Brandon Lee and Sean Mathison was the tandem of James McKie and Ben Mullis.
Robin Goodman extended the margin to 2-0 in singles on the strength of his team-leading 32nd singles victory of the season, a 6-0, 6-0 decision versus Elliott Baker at the No. 3 position.
Alen Salibasic extended the lead to 3-0, dispatching Ryan Norman on the No. 2 court, 6-0, 6-3.
Netting the match-clinching tally at the top slot was McKie, who posted a 6-1, 6-2 decision past Mathison.
Drake also received victories at the Nos. 4 and 5 positions from Mullis and sophomore Grant Tesmer (Lincoln, Neb.).
Mullis collected a 6-1, 6-3 win against Quinn Dippel, while Tesmer notched his 11th-straight singles triumph with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Lee.
BULLDOGS NO. 23 IN ITA RANKINGS
On the strength of three Bulldogs owning national singles rankings, Drake is rated No. 23 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 equaled a school record for victories with a 24-3 mark last season. The Bulldogs return eight letterwinners from a squad that finished the spring campaign with a No. 47 national ranking.
Senior Anis Ghorbel, along with sophomore Alen Salibasic and senior James McKie, each maintained a national singles ranking when the latest ratings were released on April 2. The trio is rated No. 47, No. 122 and No. 123, respectively.
Also garnering regional recognition in singles were Ghorbel, McKie, Alen Salibasic, Ben Mullis, Robin Goodman and freshman Ben Lott (Newcastle, England), 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.
• Senior James McKie is tied with Mauricio Ballivian (2008-11) and Sergi Vila (2003-07) for fourth place on the all-time victory list at Drake with 194. He needs six wins to become only the fourth Bulldog to reach the 200-win plateau at Drake.
• Senior Jean Erasmus is 10th in school history with 173 career victories. He is four wins shy of surpassing Ivan Mendoza (2005-09) and matching Jonathan Tishler (2001-06) for eighth place on the Drake career leaderboard.
• Sophomore Grant Tesmer is a perfect 10-0 in his last 10 singles contests, while Robin Goodman and Ben Lott each own 9-1 marks over the same span.
• With his win at No. 1 singles at Iowa (Feb. 27), McKie registered his 100th career singles victory.
• Erasmus is nearing 100 singles triumphs as well, as he enters the week with a 93-28 career singles ledger.
• Goodman, McKie and Salibasic have surpassed the combined 50-win plateau this season as the trio owns 56, 55 and 51 victories, respectively.
• Led by a 16-2 singles record from Goodman, every Bulldog owns a winning mark in singles during the dual campaign.
• Every Drake player also sports a winning record in doubles this spring, led by a team-best 13-5 record courtesy of Goodman.
• Goodman leads with 32 singles wins, while Salibasic and McKie have posted 30 and 29 victories, respectively.
• McKie, Goodman, Ghorbel and Salibasic pace the Bulldogs with 26, 24, 21 and 21 doubles triumphs, respectively.
• Goodman directs Drake with a 56-12 combined singles/doubles ledger. He is followed by McKie (55-16), Salibasic (51-18), Anis Ghorbel (36-16), Erasmus (37-14), Ben Mullis (34-10), Lott (31-9), Tesmer (25-8) and senior Ryan Drake (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) (15-11).
• No Drake player in singles has suffered double-digit setbacks, while only one has done so in doubles.
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 closes out the road portion of its schedule with a 1:00 p.m. tilt at Southern Illinois on April 13.