EAST LANSING, Mich.- The Michigan State men's tennis team kicks off the rest of the 2017 campaign with Big Ten Conference action this weekend March 17 and 19, welcoming a pair of Big Ten foes to the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. MSU will host No. 14 Michigan on Friday, March 17 at 6 p.m., before welcoming in Penn State on Sunday, March 19 at noon.
"We are excited to kick off the Big Ten season this Friday against No. 14 Michigan and Penn State," said head coach Gene Orlando. "Our Michigan match is always a special match for each team every year. It's ironic we are playing on St. Patrick's day."
"Tennis in the Big Ten has become one of the best conferences in the country," said Orlando. "This will be an exciting Big Ten season."
The Spartans are in search of their first win against a ranked opponent this season, with Michigan posting their toughest test yet with a No. 14 national ranking.
Michigan is 10-3 on the season and its matchup against Michigan State will be its first conference match of the year. The Wolverines are currently on a three-match win streaking defeating Dayton, Boise State and No. 49 Drake last weekend, March 10-12.
Penn State will enter the weekend with an overall mark of 8-4 on the year. PSU is coming off of a spring break tournament trip at South Florida. The Nittany Lions took second place in the tournament losing in the championship match 4-0 against South Florida.
The last time out for MSU, the Spartans split its Sunday, March. 12 matches dropping 4-0 to Drake and bouncing back to defeat Niagara 7-0.
Against Drake, the Bulldogs picked up the doubles point with a 6-3 victory at No. 1 doubles and a 6-4 win at No. 3 doubles, giving the Bulldogs the 1-0 advantage heading into singles competition. Michigan State then dropped decisions at No. 2, 4, and 6 singles while the other three remained unfinished.
Sophomore Colin Harvey and junior Michael Dube got the match started with a 6-1 win at No. 2 doubles. Sophomores Billy Shisler and Ivan Rakic sealed the doubles point with a 6-3 victory at the No. 3 doubles, while freshman Doug Francken and junior Jasper Koenen's No. 1 doubles match was left unfinished.
Shisler was the first match to finish at No. 5 singles dominating Brent Boleslav 6-1, 6-1. Sophomore Alexander Kim picked up his first win of the season at No. 3 singles with a commanding 6-3, 6-2 win. Harvey went on to defeat Josh Wilson 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4 singles to seal the victory for the Spartans as they led 4-0 with three matches left.
Dube battled at No. 1 singles for the third time this year defeating Felipe Fuentes 6-1, 6-3. Dube is now 2-0 at No. 1 singles with one unfinished match at Chicago State. Francken, who competed in only his third singles match of the season defeated Lukas Wenninger 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 6 singles position. Rakic rounded it out for MSU with a 6-2, 3-6, 10-3 win at the No. 2 singles.
At the conclusion of this weekend, MSU will conclude its five-match homestretch and take to the road for three conference games. The Spartans will start out with a trip to Columbus, Ohio to take on Ohio State on Friday, March 24.