Michigan State Men’s Tennis Hosts Three Duals This Weekend
Spartans take on Western Michigan on Friday, Harvard and Niagara on Sunday.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State men’s tennis has a busy weekend ahead, hosting Western Michigan on Friday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m., and both Harvard and Niagara on Sunday, Feb. 11 at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. Harvard is slated first at 12 p.m. followed by Niagara at 4 p.m.
Last weekend, the Spartans traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to battle Drake and New Mexico. Michigan State notched a thrilling, 4-3 win over Drake on Friday, Feb. 2 after senior Brett Forman defeated Vinny Gillespie in the third set, 7-6, to clinch the match. The Spartans then split the weekend, falling to New Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 3, 4-0.
QUOTING HEAD COACH ORLANDO
On a six-match homestand after a long road stretch…
It feels like we’re starting the season over again at home. We’re pretty excited. I think we’ve really improved a lot. We’ve grown as a team, and I’m excited to have the fans see us play again since the last home outing. There will be a lot of great competition here over this homestand. That’s what’s so exciting about playing a challenging schedule. We’re challenged every time we come out to play and we have to earn everything. That keeps you sharp in practice so you’re ready on gameday.
On the match-ups this weekend…
Western Michigan is a great rival. It’s been like that since I’ve been here, and they’ve got a great team. We were fortunate to win last year, 4-3, last match on. I’m expecting it to be very similar this year. It should be a lot of fun. Harvard is a quality team. I know that they’re very close to being top-25. It’s another opportunity, so I’m excited about playing on our home court against three quality teams.
QUOTING FRESHMAN Josh Mukherjee
On returning for home matches…
It feels good. Road trips are fun but it gets tiring after a while, I’d say.
On the opponents this weekend…
They’re definitely going to be tough. They’re going to come out strong, so we’ve got to be on our A game.
On being a part of the men’s tennis team…
I like how we’re all really close as a team. We can all rely on each other, and it’s pretty fun. Last weekend, against Drake, when Brett (Forman) clinched, that was awesome. It felt unbelievable. It was awesome seeing Brett win that match, and then winning the whole match.
SCOUTING WESTERN MICHIGAN
The Broncos have started off the 2018 season strong with 6-1 record overall, currently on a three-match win streak from victories over Tennessee Tech, Butler and Illinois State.
Michigan State and Western Michigan meet for the 92nd time in program history, with the Spartans holding a 60-31 advantage. Last season, the Spartans defeated the Broncos in a close battle, winning 4-3.
Western Michigan brings back a talented team this year that includes sophomore Kennosuke Nouchi. Nouchi was in the top-125 of the ITA Singles Rankings last season and competed in the prestigious 2017 Oracle ITA Masters tournament. They also welcome freshman Zac Faveri who is a three-time Roman Cup Winner and placed in the top-10 at Nationals on three occasions.
This marks just the fifth meeting between Michigan State and Harvard, with the last time in the 2013-14 season, when Harvard won 5-2. Harvard holds a 3-1 advantage over the Spartans and are currently undefeated, 6-0 this season.
A top returner for the Crimson is senior Kenny Tao. Tao was a first team All-Ivy League selection in both singles and doubles last season and finished with a 21-10 record in singles play. He was also ranked 65th in the preseason ITA poll.
Starting off the 2017-18 season, Niagara is 0-3 overall and will face off with Michigan State for only the second time in program history. Niagara finished the 2016-17 season with a 6-17 record.
The Purple Eagles return six letter winners, including sophomore Taylan Ozdemir, the team’s leader in singles wins last season with 12 as a freshman.
Michigan State continues its homestand and will host Ball State on Friday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility in East Lansing, Michigan.