Nov. 18, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue men's tennis team has finalized its schedule for the 2012 spring season and it will be one of the toughest in school history.
The Boilermakers open the season with a tough road test at DePaul, a team that finished No. 67 in the final polls a year ago. From there, it doesn't get any easier. Purdue must then travel to Texas A&M to take on an Aggie team that finished No. 10 in the country and was easily an NCAA Tournament qualifier. The Boilers will then take on either Mississippi State or Princeton, both ranked, with Mississippi State finishing 2011 at No. 20 after their birth in the NCAA Tournament.
A rematch against head coach Pawel Gajdzik's alma mater is also in the mix as Purdue will face No. 6 Baylor in Los Angeles in March. The talented Boilermaker squad will also take on other major conference foes as it travels to Arkansas and faces Maryland. The Terrapins of the ACC finished No. 39 last year and made a trip to the NCAAs.
Purdue will again make a spring break trip to San Diego for the San Diego Invitational. Last year the youthful Boilermakers found success on the west coast as they were able to finish runner-up. Upon returning from California, the Old Gold and Black will open league play which will include a first ever league match against last year's No. 44 team and an NCAA qualifier, Nebraska. Nine of the 11 opponents in the Big Ten finished last year ranked in the top 75 a year ago. The Boilermakers also finished in the polls at No. 64.
The 2012 spring slate poses a great challenge to a young Boilermaker squad that features three freshmen, three sophomores, and three juniors. Overall, there will be three matches against teams ranked in the top 10 of the final poll a year ago and six in the top 25. There are also 15 matches against teams in the top 75 overall, not including teams in the San Diego Invitational. Those teams, by the way, include last year's invitational champion, San Diego, which finished in the NCAA tournament with an overall ranking of 29. San Diego State is also in the field, though the Aztecs fell just outside the top 75 teams in the country. Harvard and Pacific are in the field. Those two schools finished No. 72 and No. 74, respectively. Virginia Commonwealth and UC Irvine are also in the mix. The Rams finished last year ranked No. 48 whereas the Anteaters finished No. 40 and in the NCAA tournament. Marquette is also in the field.
Overall, the Boilermakers will face teams from four BCS conferences outside of the Big Ten. Those conferences are the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the Big East. Other strong tennis conferences represented on the schedule are the Mountain West, the West Coast Conference, and the Ivy League.
Freshmen Diego Acosta, Evan Hawkins, and Thomas Kroczek look to help last year's recruiting class of Aaron Dujovne, Pawel Poziomski, Szymon Tatarczyk, Mark Kovacs, and Krisztian Krocsko as well as Billy Heuer. Last year's class ranked as the highest in program history as, at the time, Tatarczyk was the highest ranked player to come to Purdue. However, the addition of Acosta this year has bumped Tatarczyk to the second best player to don the Old Gold and Black as the Ecuadorean came in ranked a handful of spots higher.