April 22, 2010
Contact: Greg Murphy
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland State men's tennis team has one simple mission this weekend in Indianapolis. And that is to bring the Horizon League Championship back home for the third straight season.
After going through the regular season with an unblemished 7-0 mark, the Vikings earned the No. 1 seed at this weekend's league championship that begins on Friday (April 23) at North Central H.S.
By virtue of finishing in the top two of the regular season, CSU earned a bye into the semifinals and will not play until Saturday (April 24) at 10:30 a.m. against the winner of Friday's first round match between fourth-seeded Butler and fifth-seeded Green Bay.
CSU defeated both Butler and Green Bay by identical 5-2 scores this spring.
UIC earned the No. 2 seed and will play a semifinal match on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. against the winner of Friday's other first round match between third-seeded Wright State and sixth-seeded Detroit.
The championship match is scheduled for Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
All matches will be played at North Central H.S. at 1801 E. 86th Street in Indianapolis. However, there is a chance that rain could push the matches indoors to a site that will be determined
"This is what we have been working toward all year," eighth year head coach Brian Etzkin said. "We attained our goal of winning the regular season title and winning all seven of our league matches, but that goes out the window now. We are going into the tournament on a nice run and are very focused on winning another title.
"In order to do that, we have to approach each match with a high level of intensity and not lose our focus. The doubles point is going to be very crucial and could decide a lot of the matches this weekend so we have to continue to play strong doubles and have good court positioning."
The Vikings have been on a roll lately, winning eight of its last nine matches since going 1-3 on its Spring Break trip to Florida in mid-March. The lone loss during the stretch was a 4-0 setback at No. 3 Ohio State.
CSU concluded the regular season with a pair of wins at home last weekend, including a 5-2 win over Detroit on Saturday (April 17) that was the Vikings 23rd consecutive win over a league foe.
The Vikings also topped Buffalo, 4-3, on Sunday (April 18), a team that was coming off a win over No. 74 Western Michigan.
"We have been playing some great tennis of late and to get a win over a quality team like Buffalo on Sunday was huge going into the tournament," Etzkin said. "It showed that we are one of the elite mid-major teams in the region and our guys really stepped up to the challenge. The best thing to come out of that match was that everyone contributed to the win from No. 1 through No. 6."
CSU has had balanced singles play this year as Phil Orno has gone 27-11 at No. 1 singles, while Rob Fox is tied with Orno for most wins on the team with a 27-10 mark at No. 4 singles.
Yannick Goossens is 24-10 at No. 2 singles. His win over Buffalo on Sunday allowed the Holland native to run his streak of consecutive wins at River Oaks Racquet Club without a loss to 16.
Ryan Hamning has gone 23-11 at No. 3 singles, giving the Vikings four players with at least 20 wins for the first time in program history.
Orno and Hamning have once again led CSU's doubles contingent with a 22-8 mark. The duo has combined for 91 career doubles victories.
The winner of the league tournament will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship. The first and second rounds are scheduled for May 14-16 at campus sites. The official announcement of the tennis bracket will be on Tuesday (May 4) on ESPNEWS.
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