Sept. 26, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - - The Michigan State men's tennis team will send four players to compete at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. The nationally acclaimed tournament begins Sept. 28-29 with prequalifying.
Junior Gijs Linders and sophomore John Patrick Mullane will compete in the prequalifying rounds attempting to qualify for the main qualifying and then to qualify for the main draw. Linders compiled an 18-9 overall singles record, including an 8-2 mark in Big Ten play last season. Mullane also posted an 8-2 Big Ten singles record and tallied a 21-4 record overall.
Senior Aaron Pfister will begin action in the main qualifying round, which lasts Sept. 30 - Oct. 2. Pfister is coming off a 17-17 overall record last season that included a 13-13 mark in the Big Ten. The first-team All-Big Ten selection spent the majority of the dual season at the No. 1 singles position.
Senior Drew Lied qualified for the main draw, which will begin Oct. 3 and run through Oct. 6. Lied competed at the ITA/USTA National Summer Championships in August and received an automatic bid to the ITA All-American main draw after defeating Chris Diaz from Ohio State in the championship match. The Brookfield, Wis., native is coming off a junior season in which he tallied 16 wins overall, including 12 in Big Ten play. He competed at the No. 2 singles position last year and also was named a second-team All-Big Ten selection.
Lied will also compete in the main qualifying doubles round, being teamed with Mullane. Pfister and Linders will pair together and also compete in the main qualifying doubles round.
The ITA All-American Championships will feature a number of the top players from around the country. The top 32 players, based off of last year's rankings, receive an invitation to compete.
Head coach Gene Orlando is excited about the prospects of his players getting a chance to compete in Oklahoma.
"For all of them, it's an opportunity to showcase what they can do and put us further out there on the map - Michigan State tennis - and just take one match at a time," he said. Every one out there is going to be a good one. Their results have given them this opportunity. Not everyone can play in this tournament, you have to earn it through what you did the year before, and they deserve to be here. Hopefully they can pick up where they left off last spring. I know they had a great summer and are looking forward to starting the 2013-14 season."
The players not competing at the ITA All-American will begin their season Oct. 4-6 in South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invite.
For more information on the ITA All-American Championships, visit www.itatennis.com.