March 23, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State (11-7, 0-2) hits the road this weekend for a pair of Big Ten matches. They travel to Minneapolis, Minn. on Friday to take on the Golden Gophers at 7:30 p.m. at the Baseline Tennis Center. From there they continue on to Madison, Wis. to face the Badgers on Sunday at 1 p.m. inside the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The Spartans will face Big Ten competition for the remainder of the season in which they look to improve on their 0-2 conference record.
Minnesota is currently ranked No. 44 in the nation with a 6-3 record. The Gophers are on a five game winning streak coming off an upset win over Drake. The Gophers have not played since March 9 as their two previous matches in California were rained out.
Minnesota started off their year with a win over Marquette followed by three loses, two at the ITA Kick-Off and the other on the road at Louisville. Since then, the Golden Gophers have recorded five wins including one over their only Big Ten opponent, Wisconsin. Last season the Spartans fell to Minnesota at home in a tough fought 4-3 loss.
The Badgers are 8-5 so far this season and coming off two 7-0 wins verse UW-Whitewater and UIC in a home doubleheader last Saturday. Wisconsin has won their last three matches and takes on Michigan Friday at 7 p.m. before facing the Spartans Sunday afternoon. The Badgers are undefeated at home so far this season but have lost all of their road matches until their most recent 4-2 win against Idaho. Wisconsin lost their only Big Ten match of the season against Minnesota 6-1 and will finish out with Big Ten play the rest of the season. Last year, Wisconsin defeated the Spartans, 4-3, in East Lansing.
Last Time Out
Last Saturday the Spartans faced a tough Michigan squad on the road falling 7-0. The Wolverines were ranked No. 25 in the nation and on a three-match winning streak going into the day. They continued their strong play against the Spartans winning all seven points. MSU was able to win one doubles match when Gijs Linders and Denis Bogatov defeated Petrone and Zhu on court three but the Spartans were unable to pick up a second doubles victory to earn the point. In singles play, Ronnie Hulewicz and Denis Bogatov were able to take their opponents to three sets on courts two and three respectively, however both fell in the third set.
The Spartans have picked up two weekly Big Ten awards this season with the most recent recipient being Denis Bogatov the week of Jan. 17. The Gurnee, Ill. native notched a 2-0 singles and 2-0 doubles record on Jan. 14 and helped the Spartans sweep their season-opening tripleheader against Bradley, Morehead State and Wright State.
Earlier this season, Aaron Pfister also picked up an individual Big Ten accolade after being crowned the conference's indoor champion in Iowa City back in November 2011. The sophomore went undefeated, posting a perfect 6-0 singles record on his way to winning the title and also advanced to the final round of the Flight A doubles draw during the tournament.
Meet the Spartans
The Michigan State men's tennis team will feature a student-athlete every week this spring in an attempt to "Meet the Spartans". This week junior Will Davis (Prospect, Ky.) sat down with msuspartans.com to answer some questions about what he likes to do in his free time and sports he enjoys other than tennis. Next week, Spartan fans will get to know senior Austin Brooks.
Spartans on the Web
To see all of the latest updates and highlights on the men's tennis team, be sure to `like' their page on Facebook and follow them on twitter @MSU_Tennis.
MSU returns home after playing four matches on the road to take on two more Big Ten opponents. The Spartans will face Indiana on Saturday March, 31 at 12 p.m. followed by a match against Purdue on Sunday, April 1 also at 12 p.m. All of the matches will be held at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility.