April 22, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Drawing the eighth seed in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament, the No. 61 nationally ranked Michigan State men's tennis team will play ninth-seeded Nebraska, ranked 69th nationally, in the first round on Thursday at 10 a.m. MSU is hosting the tournament this year and all matches will be held at the MSU Outdoor Courts.
"It's always nice to showcase your facility and the support you get," head coach Gene Orlando said. "Obviously we're looking to make a deep run in the tournament. We've had a lot of success playing at home and we hope to continue it."
The winner of MSU-Nebraska will move on to face top-seeded Ohio State in the quarterfinals on Friday at 10 a.m. MSU lost to Ohio State, 5-2, on March 23 in East Lansing.
MSU will enter postseason play having won its last two in a row and three of its last four. The Spartans concluded their regular season at home last weekend with a pair of wins over top 60 opponents. MSU defeated No. 28 Purdue, 5-2, on April 18, and No. 59 Indiana on April 20. No. 28 Purdue was the highest-ranked opponent MSU has defeated this season.
"It's always good to come in with a couple wins," senior co-captain Drew Lied said. "But we're not looking too much into that, we're looking to the future. We're just doing everything we can each day and getting better and hopefully we're ready for the tournament when it comes."
MSU will play Nebraska, a team in which it already defeated this season on March 28, in the first round on Thursday at 10 a.m.
Lied Earns Weekly Award
The senior co-captain Lied was named Big Ten Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday. This is Lied's second weekly award of the season and the second of his career. He is the ninth player to receive such acclamation under Coach Orlando.
During last weekend's conference action, Lied earned four wins, including three ranked wins. He teamed with sophomore John Patrick Mullane to defeat No. 70 Tatarczyk and Medinilla of Purdue, 8-6, and No. 59 Bednarczyk and Monette of Indiana, 8-6. In singles, he defeated Tatarczyk of Purdue 6-3, 7-5, and he defeated No. 104 Monette of Indiana, 6-4, 7-6(5).
In the Polls
With its two ranked wins last weekend, MSU appears in this week's ITA poll, coming in at No. 61.
This will be the 12th overall week of the season in which MSU has been ranked. MSU began the season ranked No. 47 and appeared in the rankings for 10 consecutive weeks before dropping out on Feb. 25. MSU came in at No. 73 on April 1.
Notes from Purdue-Indiana
- MSU finished the regular season 10-1 (.909) at home. Its only loss came to top-ranked Ohio State on March 23, 5-2.
- MSU defeated its fourth and fifth ranked opponents of the season over the weekend, improving to 5-13 (.278) against ranked foes. MSU is 4-1 against ranked opponents at home.
- The Spartans claimed the doubles point for the 11th and 12th times of the season over the weekend. MSU is 11-1 (.917) when taking an early 1-0 lead.
- Sophomore John Patrick Mullane picked up his team-high seventh Big Ten win of the season by defeating Indiana. Mullane is 7-4 in conference this season and 15-6 for his career in the Big Ten.
- Freshman Brett Forman finished the dual season leading the Spartans in wins with 14 after his defeats of Purdue and Indiana. Forman is 14-7 for the spring and 5-6 in conference.
- Senior Drew Lied collected his 10th and 11th wins of the spring over the weekend, becoming the fifth Spartan on the team to reach double-digit wins. Forman, senior Aaron Pfister, Mullane, and junior Gijs Linders are the other four.
- Junior Harry Jadun won his fourth consecutive match on April 20. All four of those wins have come against opponents on ranked teams.
Home Court Advantage
The Spartans have played especially well at home this season, finishing the regular season 10-1 at their home facilities.
"It's definitely been something special about this team playing at home," Orlando said. "It's just worked out well for us and hopefully we can keep that magic going."
MSU is 4-1 against ranked opponents at home, including 2-0 while playing on the outdoor courts.
"We're tough at home, there's no doubt about it. We have a little chip on our shoulder when we're at home," senior co-captain Aaron Pfister said. "I think we really lean on our fans a lot. We fire them up, we bring a lot of intensity at home. We don't want to lose on our courts, we take a lot of pride in that. More in a quiet sense, we're all pretty quiet about it but we all take it very seriously and losing at home is just something we never want to have happen."
MSU 4, No. 58 Nebraska 3 - Recap from March 28, 2014, in East Lansing
The Spartans picked up their seventh win of the season and their first in Big Ten play with the win over No. 58 Nebraska on March 28. MSU was able to snap its three-match losing streak and defeated its first ranked opponent of the season.
MSU won the doubles point behind Lied and Mullane winning on court one, 8-6, and Linders and Jadun winning on court two, 8-6.
In singles, MSU successfully closed out the match by winning three of the six matches. Mullane grabbed the first win for MSU, winning 6-4, 6-0 over Marc Herrmann on court two. Freshman Mac Roy defeated Charlie Shin on court six, 6-3, 7-5. Linders clinched the fourth point for MSU as he beat Andrew Dzulynsky on court five, 6-4, 6-3.
MSU was without their senior co-captain and two-time All-Big Ten player Aaron Pfister for this matchup as he had gone down with an injury earlier in the week and was unavailable. Pfister is expected to start in the lineup for the second matchup with Nebraska.
MSU Tournament Notes
MSU owns a 21-28 (.429) overall record in the Big Ten Tournament since the dual match playoff system was established in 1991.
This will be the third time MSU has hosted the tournament under the current format (1997, 2004, 2014) and the seventh time overall MSU has hosted (1959, 1961, 1966, 1969, 1997, 2004, 2014).
MSU's last conference championship came in 1967.
In the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, MSU earned the seventh seed and defeated 10th-seeded Nebraska to advance to the quarterfinals. Second-seeded Minnesota defeated MSU in the quarterfinals.