March 31, 2011
Contact: Greg Murphy
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland State men's tennis team returns home for the first time in over a month when the Vikings play their first two Horizon League matches at home this weekend.
The Vikings will host Valparaiso on Saturday (April 2) at 4:30 p.m. at Peak Performance Tennis Club, which is located at 1 Eagle Valley Court in Broadview Heights. CSU will then host UIC on Sunday (April 3) at 3:00 p.m. at Paramount Tennis Club in Westlake.
The match against UIC will be a rematch of the last three Horizon League championship matches, which have all been won by the Vikings.
These will be the Vikings first home matches since a 5-2 setback to Illinois State on Feb. 27.
"We are excited to get back home and play some matches," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "Valpo lost their first two league matches this season and with only the top six teams making the league tournament, we know that we are going to get their best shot so we have to come out prepared and ready to play our best.
"And UIC is a very strong program who has advanced to the league championship match for several years in a row. We have had some good battles with them in the regular season and in each of the last three league title matches and I expect Sunday's match to be another good, solid match."
The Vikings enter the weekend with an 8-7 overall mark and 2-0 in the Horizon League after winning 4-3 at Green Bay last Saturday (March 26).
"I really like the direction that we are taking as a team and thought the win at Green Bay was one of the best we have had as a team in a long time," Etzkin said. "Things looked bleak after we lost the doubles point and then won only three first sets of the six singles matches. There were times when I didn't know how we were going to get the four points needed to win, but our guys just battled and fought hard on every court, eventually pulling out the win."
The victory over the Phoenix was CSU's 27th straight against a Horizon League opponent, a streak the Vikings will attempt to extend this weekend.
The clinching point came from freshman Matt Kuelker, who won 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 at No. 3 singles, fending off a "match point against" the Vikings to get his squad the fourth point.
"That's a match that not many freshman are going to win," Etzkin said. "But Matt was able to get so much experience during the fall at some top notch tournaments and I think he was able to use some of that knowledge to pull out that win. It was a huge win for him."
Senior Rob Fox earned a win at No. 2 singles against the Phoenix, improving to 17-12 this year, tops on the team. He has 91 career singles victories, ranking second all-time at CSU, just nine shy of passing Phil Orno for most career wins in school history.
Following the two matches this weekend, CSU is back in action with a pair of road contests next weekend, playing at Wright State on Friday (April 9) at 10:00 a.m. and at Butler on Sunday (April 10) at 10:00 a.m.
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