April 15, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s tennis team wraps up the road portion of its schedule this weekend by traveling to face Michigan State and 25th-ranked Michigan.
“The team is excited about this weekend,” head coach Pawel Gajdzik said. “Coming off a big victory, everyone has continued to work hard throughout this week in practice, and we feel like we are ready. Playing on the road always presents unique challenges, but it also is an excellent opportunity for us.”
Purdue (11-10, 1-5 Big Ten) earned its first road win and first Big Ten win of the season last Sunday by taking down 48th-ranked Northwestern 5-2. The Wildcats became the highest-ranked team defeated by the Boilermakers since they knocked off 41st-ranked Harvard on Feb. 6, 2006. Purdue’s 11 wins this season, with four regular-season contests and the Big Ten Tournament left to play, are the most by the program since the 2002 squad earned 13 victories.
Senior Paul Foley and junior Eric Ramos are tied for the team lead in dual-match singles wins with 12 each. Foley halted a five-match losing streak with his victory at the No. 5 position at Northwestern, while Ramos, who is alone at the top with three Big Ten singles wins, ran his winning streak to three and clinched the match for the Boilermakers with a victory at No. 4. Foley also ranks second on the team with 10 doubles victories in dual-match play.
Senior Slavko Bijelica leads Purdue with 11 dual-match doubles wins this season, with eight coming from the No. 1 position in the lineup. He also ranks third with nine dual-match singles wins, including five from No. 1. Classmate P.J. Rose has earned nine doubles wins and seven singles victories in dual matches, while fellow senior Branko Kuzmanovic has eight doubles triumphs and seven singles wins, including two against conference competition. Sophomore Thomas Wilson, who picked up one singles and one doubles win last weekend, is 7-7 in dual-match doubles play and 7-6 in singles.
Michigan State (12-11, 0-7) is the only Big Ten team without a conference victory this season. The Spartans defeated Western Michigan on Wednesday to stop a seven-match losing streak and improve to 12-6 at home. Dennis Bogatov leads the team with 16 dual-match singles wins and four singles wins in Big Ten play, marks he has compiled mostly at the No. 3 position. Ronnie Hulewicz, who is 10-9 at No. 1, ranks second with 13 singles wins and two against conference competition. Bogatov and Clark Richardson have combined for a team-leading 13 doubles victories in dual matches.
Michigan (10-8, 6-1) had its five-match winning streak and perfect start to conference play stopped last Sunday at second-ranked Ohio State. The Wolverines, who are 6-3 at home this season, boast two ranked singles players and two ranked doubles tandems. Jason Jung is the 36th-ranked singles player in the NCAA this week with his 7-10 dual-match singles record. Evan King, who is 12-6 in singles, is ranked 113th this week. Jung and King have combined for a 10-6 doubles record and are 37th in the NCAA, and Mike Sroczynski and George Navas check in at 38th with their 12-5 mark.
Purdue has won five straight against the Spartans, while Michigan has won five in a row in the series following a three-match winning streak by the Boilermakers.
Both matches are set to being at noon ET, with Purdue and Michigan State facing off on Saturday at the MSU Outdoor Tennis Courts before the Boilermakers and Wolverines tangle Sunday at the Varsity Tennis Center. Live results from Sunday’s match can be found at purduesports.com.