May 1, 1997
Purdue Tennis Garners Invitation to NCAA Regionals
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Each passing year finds a new step in the success of Purdue men's tennis. Last year the team was competitive with the top teams in the Big Ten. This year they are competitive and beating the top teams in the country. The Boilermakers will continue their quest for a spot as a national contender at the NCAA Regional Championships May 9-11 at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill. "This is an exciting day for Purdue men's tennis," said head coach Tim Madden. "Each one of the players has worked hard to make this possible. Only the best are invited. We have played all these teams before, and played them tough, so I like our chances." Purdue enters the tournament, the first in school history, as the fourth seed, and will face fifth-seeded Minnesota in the first round of the six-team regional at 9 a.m. on May 9. The Boilermakers split their two meetings with the Golden Gophers during the regular season. On April 19, Purdue defeated Minnesota 4-3 at the Varsity Courts, but the Gophers upset the Boilers 4-2 at the Big Ten Tournament in East Lansing the following weekend. The loss was disappointing for the team and they look forward to the opportunity to redeem themselves for that loss.
"Minnesota is a tough team," said sophomore Jamie Gordon. "They played hard at the Big Ten Championships and prevented us from getting to where we wanted to be. For that reason alone it is exciting to play them again. We have beaten them once, so we know that we can, and we are hungry for the opportunity."
Northwestern, the three seed, will play sixth-seeded Indiana in the other first-round match. Illinois will play the winner of that match on May 10 in the Regional Semifinals, while the Purdue/Minnesota winner will contend with top-seeded Notre Dame. The winners of those matches will meet in the Regional Finals at 1 p.m. on May 11. The Regional Champion will play in the NCAA Team Championships in Los Angeles starting on May 17.
In addition to the team qualifying, the doubles team of Cris James and Derek Myers, both sophomores, again qualified for the NCAA Doubles Championships, also to be held in Los Angeles. Last season, the tandem defeated Ornello Arlati and Nick Williams of Washington 7-5, 7-6 (8) in the first round, before falling to the eventual runners-up in Ashley Fisher and Jason Weir-Smith of Texas Christian, 6-4, 6-3. "We've beaten several doubles teams this year that are top 10 in the country," said Myers. "We know that we can play with anyone in the country, so our confidence is high. I look forward to going back, but first I'd like to win the Regional and take the whole team back with us."
Purdue has an 18-6 record entering the NCAA Regionals and is ranked 49th in the country. James and Myers are ranked 26th in doubles, but they have been as high as seventh during the 1997 season.