Jan. 16, 2013
Contact: Renee Adam
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland State men's tennis team will open its spring season this week, traveling to Xavier and Penn State for a pair of matches. The Vikings will travel to Xavier for a 7:00 p.m. contest on Friday (Jan. 18) and will then head to Penn State for a 5:00 p.m. contest on Sunday (Jan. 20).
Against Xavier: The Vikings are 5-3 against Xavier under head coach Brian Etzkin, most recently earning a 4-3 victory over the Musketeers last season.
Against Penn State: This will be the first meeting between CSU and Penn State in program history.
"The men's team will start the season off with two tough matches, traveling to Xavier and Penn State," Etzkin said. "The Xavier match is one that we look forward to every year - it is always good, clean tennis and is always a close match. Many of the players know each other so it makes for a fun atmosphere and really exciting competition. We feel if we play hard and disciplined we have a chance to get the opening match win against the Musketeers - who have the 55th ranked doubles team in the nation, which will be a good test for the men. We follow that match with a tough contest against Penn State, who we are excited to play for the first time in program history. Going in, we are the underdogs against Penn State, but we believe that we have a chance to win if we play solid throughout the lineup."
Last week, CSU was selected to finish second in the 2013 Horizon League Preseason Poll, collecting 30 points and one first-place vote. The Vikings return six letterwinners from the squad that went 12-12 last season, and will be joined by two talented newcomers.
At the start of the spring season, Matt Ford and Matt Kuelker are tied for ninth on the all-time singles wins list at CSU - entering the Xavier match with 44 singles wins. They each need six more wins to become the seventh and eighth Vikings to reach 50 wins on their careers.
Throughout the fall season, Cleveland State was led by Ford and the doubles team of Ali Shabib and Niklas Jonsson. Ford ended the fall with an 8-4 record, including a perfect 6-0 mark to start the season. As a sophomore, Ford posted a 20-14 record - the lone Viking to reach the 20-win mark last year.
The doubles team of Shabib and Jonsson had an excellent fall campaign, going 11-2 and picking up two tournament titles. The duo started the season on a 10-match win streak, earning doubles titles at the Western Michigan Invite and Purdue Invitational.
For complete statistics and results from the fall season click the link below:
Brian Etzkin is in his 11th season at the helm of the men's tennis team, boasting a dual match record of 149-102 (.594), including a Horizon League record of 42-23 (.646). Under Etzkin the Vikings have won four Horizon League Tournament titles - advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.