WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Purdue men's tennis team (20-12, 7-4 Big Ten) received multiples nods from the Big Ten Conference and NCAA over the last week, largely in part to its strong 6-1 finish.
Most recently, the Boilermakers were awarded an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship, marking their first appearance since 2014. Purdue found out Tuesday, during its selection show watch party, that the team will face No. 25 Columbia in the first round in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Cavaliers also welcome Monmouth to the Snyder Tennis Center to round out the four-team regional.
"We are really excited to be back in the NCAAs," head coach Pawel Gajdzik said. "It's a statement that our program is moving in the right direction, and it also validates all of the hard work the guys have put in over the years.
"We were on the bubble in 2016, but the team worked tirelessly to close out the regular season. Wins over No. 33 Minnesota and No. 30 Wisconsin during the final weekend are what made the difference.
"I'm just really excited for our seniors to be able to finish up their college careers in the NCAA tournament."
One of Gajdzik's four seniors was also recognized by the Big Ten during its men's tennis tournament which Purdue hosted this past weekend. Matt Bouggy received the Sportsmanship Award from the conference for his commitment to the representing Purdue, the Big Ten and the sport with the utmost integrity.
In addition, fellow Boilermaker Gergely Madarasz was named a member of the First-Team All-Big Ten for the second time in his career. In 2016, he was unanimous selection by the conference.
Madarasz is 20-7 in doubles this season with five wins over current ranked pairings. He's also defeated three singles players that are currently ranked by the ITA through his 17 wins. The former Big Ten Athlete of the Week was ranked as high No. 36 in singles and No. 4 in doubles this season.
Purdue will need both players' leadership on the court May 12 to earn the program's first NCAA tournament victory since 2002 and Gajdzik's first with the Boilermakers.
"The post season is what it is all about," Gajdzik said. "Every team selected to the NCAA Tournament had a great season. These are the best teams in the nation, and now it is all about surviving and advancing. We are looking forward to be playing Columbia; it will be an exciting match."