March 3, 2010
Milwaukee - The No. 70 Marquette University men's tennis team, in possession of its first-ever national ranking in team history, will spend much of the next week in Las Vegas, Nev., taking on three teams in as many days.
The Golden Eagles take on Pacific, Hawai'i and UNLV on Friday, March 5 through Saturday, March 7. Doubles play for all matches will begin at 12 p.m. CT.
Marquette owns the 70th position in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, which were released on March 2. The roster also features 84th-ranked Dusan Medan, who is the highest ranked Golden Eagle player in at least a decade.
"I am happy we are in the rankings and I think our guys have worked hard for it," head coach Steve Rodecap said. "The guys understand that it's more important where we finish and we have three excellent opportunities this weekend to head in the right direction."
The road trip is the first of the season for the Golden Eagles (11-0), who have played every dual match at home since opening the campaign in January. MU will now hit the road for 11-straight road matches to conclude the regular season, including the trio in Las Vegas.
Senior Niko Boulieris leads the team in singles play, with an undefeated 10-0 dual record. Classmate Dusan Medan and sophomore Jacob Straus each have 20 wins in overall singles play, and the duo has combined for an unblemished 8-0 doubles record at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Medan will be the only ranked player on any of the four teams playing this weekend.
Pacific (2-4) will take on Marquette to begin a three-match span against ranked teams and is the only team of the weekend without an ITA ranking. Sophomore Ivan Castro was named the Big West Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week on March 3, and is one of two Tigers to lead the team with a 4-2 dual singles record. Last season, Pacific finished the season ranked No. 67 by ITA, with a 13-6 overall record. During the 2007-08 season, the Golden Eagles fell to Pacific, 4-3, in Stockton, Calif.
No. 47 Hawai'i (5-3) is 1-3 on the road this season but has yet to play a neutral match. Hawai'i opened with three consecutive wins, but has won just two of the last five. Sophomore Leo Rosenberg is undefeated for UH, tallying a 7-0 record at No. 4 singles, and is the only singles player to enter the weekend on a winning streak. Head coach John Nelson's squad has struggled in doubles play this season, winning just 25 percent of overall doubles matches, and six of 23 in the spring. Marquette, in comparison, has fallen in just seven of 66 spring doubles matches, and boasts a 89.4% spring doubles winning percentage.
No. 71 UNLV (5-6) will be the only one of the four teams this weekend playing with a home court advantage. After starting the season winning five of six matches, the Rebels enter the weekend on a five-match losing streak. Sophomore Mehdi Bouras leads UNLV with an 8-3 dual singles record, trailed closely by freshman Johannes Markel with a 7-3 record. Markel and classmate Bernard Schoeman have combined for an 8-1 doubles record in the spring season to pace the Rebels. Marquette last faced UNLV in the 2005-06 season at the HEB Championships in Texas, where the Golden Eagles fell 4-0.