Men's Tennis Team Travels To California

Boilers begin three-match road trip at UC-Irvine.

March 10, 1998

By Susan Coscione
Purdue Sports Information Student Assistant

The Purdue men's tennis team will begin its three-match road trip to California when it takes on UC-Irvine on March 11. The Boilers will also face Pepperdine and UC-Santa Barbara on March 13 and 14, respectively.

Purdue is coming off a 5-2 victory at home against Louisville on March 7. The Boilers swept the Cardinals in doubles, with the 27th-ranked combo of juniors Cris James and Derek Myers leading the way with an 8-4 victory at the No. 1 position. Junior Jamie Gordon and freshman Jason Marshall, along with sophomore G.T. Cozad and rookie Dan Swan, posted wins in doubles, as well. James, Myers, Marshall and Swan also captured victories in their singles' slots in the Purdue win. The Boilers moved to 5-4(1-1 Big Ten) with the victory.

The Golden State will provide some of the most competitive tennis Purdue has seen all season. Pepperdine is ranked seventh in the nation. While UC-Santa Barbara is ranked 55th. UC-Irvine received votes in the latest Rolex Collegiate Tennis poll. The Boilermakers are ranked 65th.

The level of competition is welcomed by Purdue coach Tim Madden, who scheduled this spring trip in order to give the Boilers more experience against top-ranked teams. "Up until now we've been trying to earn the opportunity to play these types of teams," says Madden. "Now we are good enough to get that chance and we're ready for it. We're going out there with the intention of winning." Madden also hopes the spring trip will bring the Boilers closer together as a team. "One of the biggest reasons we go on a spring trip is to focus on our team unity," says Madden. "There is an element of fun in California, and if that's not abused our team chemistry will grow. It's a fine line, but we've been able to do it in the past. It's a matter of our team character." Purdue played against both UC-Santa Barbara and UC-Irvine last year, and fell to both teams 1-6 and 3-4, respectively. "We played UC-Santa Barbara and UC-Irvine last year and lost two very competitive and close matches," says Madden. "This year we will refuse to use the excuse of adjusting to the outdoor elements. We've been in this situation before, and that experience will have us hungrier than ever when we take the court."

Madden is looking forward to playing against seventh-ranked Pepperdine. However, he is not quite sure of what the Boilers will experience when the two teams meet. "I don't know what to expect from Pepperdine, other than that they will probably be our toughest opponents this year," says Madden. "We will have to be completely ready for the challenge."

Purdue will look to Gordon to bounce back from a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Louisville's 31st-ranked Michael Mather. Gordon is currently 17-11 overall and 4-4 in No. 1 singles. The Boilers also need Cade Lutz to pull victories this week. Lutz, a junior transfer from Virginia, anchors Purdue's lineup and could provide match-deciding wins at No. 6.

Purdue hopes to continue to see victories from James, Myers, Marshall and Swan in singles play. James tops the Boilers off with a record of 16-7 overall, 7-1 in the No. 2 slot. In doubles, the duo of James and Myers is dominating at the No. 1 spot. They are currently 18-7 overall and 6-1 in the No.1 position. UC-Irvine is currently 4-6 overall, but will face Wisconsin on March 10 before taking on Purdue. The Anteaters are coming off a 5-2 victory over Cal Poly, which snapped a five-match losing streak. The doubles team of David Chang and Nick Varvais are undefeated (4-0) this year in the No. 3 slot. Chang has also been successful in the No. 6 singles position recently, as he has won his last two matches and stands at 4-2 overall this season.

Pepperdine boasts a 12-4 record and will face William & Mary on March 12 before facing the Boilers. The Waves are coming off a 4-3 loss to ninth-ranked Texas. The fourth-ranked doubles team of Kelly Gullett and John Lundquist will pose a challenge in the No. 1 spot for James and Myers. The duo currently owns a 10-2 record. UC-Santa Barbara is 6-6 in the season. The Gauchos are coming off a 6-1 victory over 56th-ranked Oregon.

The Boilers will have a week off following their road trip to California before they play host to Ball State on March 21.