DES MOINES, Iowa - No. 49 Drake posted a 7-0 victory over Southern Illinois at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. Drake opened its day sweeping the doubles competition with the duo of Anis Ghorbel (Sfax, Tunisia) and James McKie (Edinburgh, Scotland) notching the doubles tally on the strength of an 8-4 triumph on court No. 1.
Drake garnered victories in rapid-fire succession on courts two, four and six, respectively, to secure the triumph for the Bulldogs.
First off the court was McKie, who bested Stanislas Rodier at the No. 2 position, 6-1, 6-1.
Within seconds Jean Erasmus (Windhoek, Namibia) followed in triumph posting a 6-2, 6-1 decision at No. 4.
Almost as quick as Erasmus had exited the court, Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England) clinched the match in favor of Drake at the No. 6 slot, 6-2, 6-1 score.
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 is the seventh this spring for a Bulldog, while also marking the sixth such accolade in McKie’s Drake career.
McKie led the Bulldogs to a dramatic 4-2 victory at Wichita State last Saturday (April 6) with a pair of triumphs.
In doubles, he paired with freshman Ben Lott (Newcastle, England) to register Drake’s lone win, an 8-2 decision at the No. 2 position.
In singles, the Bulldogs fell behind 2-0 in the match before rallying with four unanswered victories to net the win.
McKie sealed the triumph recording the match-clincher over Matheus Pereira at No. 1, 6-4, 6-3.
On the season, McKie owns a 57-16 combined singles/doubles ledger. He leads Drake in doubles wins with 27, while equaling Robin Goodman for total victories with 57.
A LOOK BACK
Drake 4, Wichita State 2 (April 7, 2013)
WICHITA, Kan. - Displaying the championship fortitude that has catapulted the 23rd-ranked Drake men’s tennis team to back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference titles, the Bulldogs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to collect a 4-2 victory at Wichita State last Sunday (April 7).
The Shockers gained early momentum in the affair capturing the doubles point after Tomislav Gregurovic and Guillermo Nicol posted an 8-5 decision at the No. 3 position over Robin Goodman and sophomore Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England).
Wichita State extended its lead to 2-0 in singles after Erick Reyes bested freshman Ben Lott (Newcastle, England) on the No. 6 court, 6-0, 6-3.
Sophomore Alen Salibasic (Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina) began the Bulldogs’ comeback notching a 6-4, 6-2 triumph at No. 2.
Mullis followed by evening the score at two with a 6-3, 6-2 decision at No. 5. Putting Drake ahead to stay at the No. 3 hole with a 6-3, 6-4 victory was Goodman.
James McKie then slammed the door on the Shockers’ upset bid netting the match-clinching tally with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph versus Matheus Pereira.
The match at No. 4 between Jean Erasmus and Gregurovic went unfinished with Erasmus leading in the third set.
BULLDOGS NO. 28 IN ITA RANKINGS
On the strength of three Bulldogs owning national singles rankings, Drake is rated No. 28 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 junior Robin Goodman, each maintained a national singles ranking when the latest ratings were released on April 16. The duo is rated No. 57 and No. 111, respectively.
Also garnering regional recognition in singles were Ghorbel, James 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.
• Senior James McKie moved past Mauricio Ballivian (2008-11) and Sergi Vila (2003-07) into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time victory list at Drake with a pair of triumphs last weekend versus Wichita State. McKie now owns 196 career wins and needs four victories 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 (Lincoln, Neb.) is a perfect 10-0 in his last 10 singles contests, while Robin Goodman owns a 9-1 mark 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 Alen Salibasic have surpassed the combined 50-win plateau this season as the trio owns 57, 57 and 52 victories, respectively.
• Led by a 17-2 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 13-6 record courtesy of Goodman.
• Goodman leads with 33 singles wins, while Salibasic and McKie have posted 31 and 30 victories, respectively.
• McKie, Goodman, Ghorbel and Salibasic pace the Bulldogs with 27, 24, 21 and 21 doubles triumphs, respectively.
• Goodman directs Drake with a 57-13 combined singles/doubles ledger. He is followed by McKie (57-16), Salibasic (52-19), Anis Ghorbel (36-16), Erasmus (37-15), Ben Mullis (35-11), Lott (32-10), 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 two have 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 returns to the Roger Knapp Tennis Center for the first time in two months as the Bulldogs close out their league slate hosting Illinois State and Bradley on April 20 and 21, respectively.