April 10, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No.48 ranked MSU men's tennis team will hit the road this weekend for a pair of conference matches against the Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 60 Cornhuskers of Nebraska. The Spartans will open the weekend in Iowa on Friday, April 12 at 3 p.m., before traveling to Nebraska for a match on Sunday, April 14 at noon. MSU split a pair of conference matches last weekend at home, defeating Northwestern 5-2 and falling to Illinois, 4-3. They enter the weekend with a 9-11 overall record and 3-4 mark in conference play.
Three Spartans have reached the double digit mark in singles victories this dual season. Senior Denis Bogatov (10), sophomore Gijs Linders (13) and freshman JP Mullane (13) are atop the lineup in wins, while Juniors Aaron Pfister and Drew Lied both sit at nine. Lied and Mullane have both earned five singles victories in conference play.
In doubles play, the sophomore duo of Harry Jadun and Gijs Linders have represented the Spartans at the No. 1 position as of late, posting a 6-6 mark at the top of the lineup and are 9-9 overall. Lied and Mullane have dominated in the No. 3 position in conference play, posting a 5-1 record.
The Hawkeyes are currently 7-12 in the dual season and are still searching for their first conference win at 0-7. Iowa began the dual season 6-1, but have since struggled in part to a schedule that has included eight ranked teams the past 12 matches.
Junior Jonas Dierckx has led the way for the Hawkeyes in both singles and doubles play. Dierckx has posted nine total wins in singles action, including a 7-4 mark at the No. 2 position. Dierckx has also seen time at both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, notching 11 total wins with partners Juan Estenssoro and Matt Hagan. Senior Garrett Dunn has contributed seven wins in doubles play, competing primarily at the No. 3 spot.
A GLANCE AT THE CORNHUSKERS
Nebraska enters the weekend with a 10-10 overall mark and are 2-5 in Big Ten play. The Cornhuskers are coming off a pair of losses last weekend to Purdue and Indiana. Their conference wins came at home against Penn State (4-3) and Iowa (6-1). Nebraska will host Michigan on Friday, April 12 before welcoming the Spartans to town.
Freshman Dusty Boyer has been a model of consistency for the Huskers in singles play, posting 10 overall wins at the No. 2, 3 and 4 positions. He has added an additional eight wins in doubles play, primarily in the No. 2 slot with fellow freshman Bradford Zitsch. At the bottom of the singles lineup, junior Tom Blackwell has posted a 13-5 record in singles action.
LAST TIME OUT
The Spartans were able to earn an impressive victory to open competition last weekend, taking down the No. 29 Northwestern Wildcats by earning the first four points of the match. The doubles point was earned at the No. 1 and 3 positions, where Harry Jadun and Gijs Linders sealed an 8-6 victory at No. 1 and JP Mullane and Drew Lied cruised to an 8-2 win at No. 3.
Three straight set victories for MSU in singles play clinched the match for the Spartans, giving them their third conference victory of the season. Aaron Pfister earned the first singles point, while Mullane, Linders and Lied all followed their impressive doubles outings to round out the five point showing from the Green and White.
The Spartans faced another stiff opponent in No. 28 Illinois the following day, and despite a tough effort in singles play, fell to the Illini 4-3.
When not representing their school while competing on the court, the Spartan tennis squad has been actively involved in the Detroit Soles project, a community effort that began several years ago and was started by senior Christian Roehmer. The goal of the project is to collect new and gently used shoes throughout the community and deliver them to the Tumaini Center in Detroit, who then delivers them to individuals in need.
What started in the Spartan athletic department has now spread throughout the city. Bins accepting shoes are now located at East Lansing High School, the Lansing Public Library, and the Hannah Community Center, as well as at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility during all home matches. The team has set a goal of collecting 500 pairs of shoes to donate.
The Spartans will conclude their regular dual season next weekend, hitting the road to face the Buckeyes of Ohio State on Friday, April 19 at 3 p.m. before returning home for the last time to host Penn State at noon on Sunday, April 21.