No. 46 Blue Raiders to face No. 22 Michigan in NCAA tournament
Teams will square off at Ole Miss May 11-13May 1, 2012 · Athletic Communications
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The No. 46 Middle Tennessee men’s tennis team will face No. 22 Michigan in opening round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships as the field of 64 was announced on Tuesday. The Blue Raiders and Wolverines will square off on Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m. CT at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center on the campus at Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.
“We’ve been talking about how we want to win the first round, so we’re looking at this as a great match and chance to make some noise at the national level,” head coach Jimmy Borendame said. “Michigan is a tough opponent, but we're aiming to become a top 30 program and this is a step toward reaching that goal."
In addition to the Blue Raiders and Wolverines, the 13th-seeded Rebels and Binghamton Bearcats round out the pod. The winners will meet in the second round on Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m., which will also be played in Oxford.
MT and Michigan have met twice previously, with both contests as part of the O’Charley’s Invitational in Knoxville, Tenn. The Wolverines earned a 6-1 win in the spring of 1995, while the Blue Raiders claimed a 5-2 victory over Michigan, ranked No. 39 at the time, in 1997.
MT earned its 11th NCAA Championship berth and third in the past four years after winning the Sun Belt Championship title for the second consecutive year. With a 19-7 overall record, MT has amassed the most wins since 1997 when the Blue Raiders finished 24-5.
MT has only dropped two matches since March 6, a 16-match stretch, with both of those losses coming to nationally ranked opponents. The Blue Raiders have defeated seven nationally ranked teams this season and have won 11 of their last 12 matches, losing only one point in the last three matches.
Ben Davis has been impressive throughout his sophomore campaign, leading the Blue Raiders in the top slot. A two-time Sun Belt all-conference honoree, Davis has reeled off 11 consecutive singles victories for a 25-8 overall and 17-4 dual record. Senior Matthew Langley has delivered a solid season as well, posting a 24-13 overall and 17-8 dual record, in addition to earning his second straight Most Outstanding Player honor at this year’s Sun Belt tournament.
“It will be a big matchup between Ben and Evan King (in the top spot),” Borendame said. “It will really come down to two through six because the first one will be a flip.”
Newcomers Christoph Lang and Ettore Zito have been key in the middle of the lineup, primarily playing at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. Lang is 17-9 overall and 15-8 in dual action, while Zito has a 24-11 and 13-7 dual record.
In doubles action, Marlon Brand and Yannick Born have primarily held the top spot, combining for a 12-10 record. The all-conference duo of Davis and Lang hold a 15-10 overall and 13-9 dual record. Langley and Zito round out the doubles teams with a 16-13 overall and 12-8 dual mark.
Michigan enters the tournament with a 16-6 record. The Wolverines are led by Evan King, ranked No. 7 nationally. King has won 15 consecutive matches and holds a 32-6 overall record, including a 20-2 dual mark. King and partner Shaun Bernstein rank 29th in doubles with a 21-12 overall and 13-9 dual mark.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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