Jan. 26, 2007
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Boilermaker tennis fans will have two opportunities to catch their favorite teams in action this weekend. The No. 40 Purdue women take on 31st-ranked Tennessee Saturday, and on Sunday, the Boilermakers battle Butler in a men's/women's doubleheader.
The Boilermakers and Lady Vols are no strangers to one another as they'll face off for the 14th-consecutive year. UT has won all previous 13 meetings, including last year's 5-2 decision in Knoxville.
The Lady Vols, like Purdue, were part of last weekend's UVA Team Invitational and dominated their competition, which included Wisconsin, No. 44 Alabama and the No. 25 Cavaliers. However, UT's winning way were snapped earlier this week as it lost 6-1 to No. 8 North Carolina.
"I think it's safe to say Tennessee is a legit top-25 program, and they'll test us to the max," said Purdue women's head coach Mat Iandolo. "A victory over them would set us up nicely for this early stage of the season."
Iandolo's lineup is close to 100 percent. Junior Brooke Beier, who won both of her singles matches at UVA, rested earlier in the week but is expected to play in one of the top three spots along with Mallory Voelker and Randi Schuler.
Iandolo also anticipates using a combination of Cigdem Duru, Anna Dzeva, Lauren Shumate and Neela Vaez to fill out the remaining positions. At Virginia, this group combined for an 8-3 singles record against opponents from No. 13 VCU, Wisconsin and Alabama.
The men's team begins its dual season Sunday at 1 p.m., taking on Butler in the first half of the co-ed doubleheader. Purdue has ruled Butler in this series, winning 31 of 33 duals, with its last loss coming in 1957.
Although the Bulldogs haven't come close to beating the Boilermakers since the Eisenhower administration, men's head coach Tim Madden knows his team will be challenged.
"I'm glad we're playing them. They put some good players on the court who will compete hard and test our upperclassmen," said Madden.
The Bulldogs will have played four duals by the time they arrive at Purdue. In the past week, they've beaten IUPUI, 5-2, and lost to nationally ranked Ohio State and Michigan by matching 7-0 scores. Butler plays at Wisconsin on Saturday.
Madden wants to see two things come out of his players against Butler: team chemistry and focus. Even though this is the team's first dual, they played well earlier this month and have raised the coach's expectations.
"I want to see team chemistry come through in doubles and last through singles; we need to create a feeling of unity," said Madden. "My players can't afford to be passive with Butler, and that's why I insist on seeing a consistent level of focus. We can't expect to roll through these guys, and if we do get up on them, we need to see a strong finish."
Madden has been impressed from what he's seen so far in seniors Paul Rose and Eric Hodgman. Rose went 1-1 at the Boilermaker Invitational as all four of his sets were settled in a tiebreak. Hodgman posted a 3-0 record at the same tournament, beating players from New Mexico, Kentucky and Western Michigan.
The Butler women's team has yet to play this season, but will face Indiana Saturday before coming up to Purdue.
Admission for all Purdue home tennis matches is free.