Men's Tennis to Meet Michigan, Again

Boilers to face rival in NCAA Regionals.

May 14, 1998

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.-- Third time's a charm. That is what the Purdue men's tennis team hopes is true when it takes on Big Ten foe Michigan for the third time this season in the first round of the NCAA Region IV Championships in South Bend on May 15. The Boilermakers, seeded fourth, defeated the Wolverines, seeded fifth, in the previous two 1998 meetings by 4-3 scores.

This marks the second straight year and second time ever the Boilermakers have received an invitation to compete in the Regional. In 1997, Purdue bowed out in the first round to conference rival Minnesota. With most of the major players back from that team, coach Tim Madden believes last year's experience at this event will help propel his Boilers into the second round.

"Our program has consistently taken steps to reach a higher level," says Madden. "We are continuing to climb, and we definitely intend to improve on our national finish from last year."

This year the Boilermakers (14-10) are counting on All-Big Ten players Jamie Gordon and Cris James. Both juniors, Gordon and James have combined for 32 dual match victories between the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions. They have also been boons to Purdue's doubles success, combining with their respective partners to win 28 matches. Both picked up key victories in the last meeting against the Wolverines on May 3, which lifted Purdue to a third-place finish in the Big Ten. That tied the Boilers' highest finish ever in the conference (also 1945).

Purdue would like to build on that accomplishment in the NCAA Tournament. One way to do so would be for the Boilers to hand Michigan a third and final loss. That would move the Boilers into the second round, where they would likely see No. 1 seed Duke. Duke is ranked 12th in the nation and will face eighth-seeded Wisconsin in first-round action.

"Facing Michigan for the third time will be tough," says Madden, "but it is going to be exciting. We are looking at beating Michigan as the way to earn the opportunity to play Duke. And we would really love that opportunity."

In addition to Purdue, Michigan, Duke and Wisconsin, Northwestern (No. 2), Notre Dame (No. 3), Minnesota (No. 6) and Louisville (No. 7) will also be competing for the regional title and a berth into the national portion of the tournament.

The Boilermakers and Wolverines take the court at 9 a.m.at Notre Dame's Courtney Tennis Center.