Oct. 24, 1997

Purdue Stuns 14th-Ranked Auburn

The Purdue men's tennis team inched closer to its goal of becoming a top 25 program, stunning 14th-ranked Auburn in the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., today. Purdue, ranked 50th in the Rolex/I.T.A. preseason poll, won seven points while surrendering only five to the favored Tigers. Though this was not an official dual match, Purdue comes away with a moral victory after winning half (4-of-8) the singles matches and 3-of-4 doubles matches, a total of seven out of a possible 12 points.

"I am so happy right now," coach Tim Madden said following the upset. "Even though this is just the preseason, this is a major confidence booster for us. Our goal is to become a top 25 team, and to play so well against the 14th-ranked team in the nation is very encouraging."

Though the Boilers entered the match as underdogs, they quickly proved that Tigers could be tamed, winning the first set in all eight singles matches. Junior Derek Myers, playing in the No. 3 Flight, defeated Christian Limbart 7-6 (5), 6-2. Sophomores Tushaar Gautam, Evan Hays and G.T. Cozad all picked up convincing singles victories in the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 Flights, respectively. Gautam downed James Collieson 6-2, 6-0, Hays defeated Ryan Sanders 6-2, 6-2 and Cozad beat Mitch Potter 6-3, 6-2.

"All of our singles players did very well, but Derek and Tushaar stood out," Madden said. "They both got into the zone and played relentless tennis. Their energy was fantastic and they just kept hitting shot after shot."

Purdue's doubles teams stymied the Tigers, as well, winning 3-of-4 matches. Juniors Cris James and Derek Myers, the nationis 13th-ranked doubles team, defeated Auburnis Bourroux/Miller duo 8-6 in the No. 1 Flight. Senior Steve Brizendine and freshman Jason Marshall teamed up to beat the Tigers' Huss and Sanders combo 8-6 in the No. 3 Flight, while the sophomore tandem of Gautam and Hays defeated Collieson and Potter 8-3 in the No. 4 Flight.

"We are playing very inspired tennis right now," Madden said. "Our guys have always looked at Gene Keady and the basketball team as a model for success. Now, with the success of Joe Tiller and the football team, that gives us something else to shoot for and draw inspiration from. We see the kind of recognition they get and it seems to pump us up and motivate us to achieve that same kind of success."

While Tiller's Boilermakers take on Illinois, Madden's Boilers will be facing an even tougher challenge in 10th-ranked Florida.

"Florida will be very tough," Madden says. "They have a very highly ranked team and they are playing on their home court. But, if we can play like we did against Auburn, anything can happen."

Purdue plays Florida in the Gator Invitational Oct. 25, and will finish the tournament against 43rd-ranked Georgia Tech Oct. 26.