Drake Returns Home Hosting Green Bay And UMKC
After a nearly two-week break from competition, the Drake men’s tennis team returns to action this Friday (Feb. 7) welcoming Green Bay and UMKC to the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. The 42nd-rated Bulldogs open their day versus the Phoenix at 9:00 a.m. before closing the evening battling the Kangaroos at 6:00 p.m.
A LOOK BACK
In arguably its biggest test on the young campaign, Drake traveled to Waco, Texas, to compete at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kick-off Weekend hosted by Baylor. The Bulldogs showed promise against a pair of ranked opponents but were unable to come away with a victory dropping a pair of 4-1 decisions versus No. 28 Auburn and No. 47 Boise State on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26, respectively.
In the finale of its stay in Texas, Drake suffered a 4-1 setback versus No. 47 Boise State.
The Broncos took a 1-0 advantage in the affair after garnering decisions at the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles positions.
Boise State pushed its lead to 2-0 in singles with a win on court No. 2 before junior Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England) got Drake on the scoreboard with a 6-4, 6-0 triumph at No. 6.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs that was as close as Drake got in the affair as the Broncos closed out the match with victories at the Nos. 1 and 5 positions to secure the win.
In a battle of nationally ranked opponents in the tournament opener for Drake, No. 28 Auburn registered a 4-1 victory past the 32nd-rated Bulldogs.
The Tigers staked themselves to a 1-0 in the affair after besting the Bulldogs at the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles slots.
Auburn extended its advantage to 3-0 in singles with victories on the top two courts.
After dropping the initial set in his match at No. 4 versus Petar Tomic, Frost garnered Drake’s lone point in the match rallying to post a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 three-set triumph.
Dennis Lengsfeld clinched the win for the Tigers at the No. 3 position edging, 2-6, 6-5 (7), 6-4.
The Bulldogs were one point away from collecting three-set triumphs at the Nos. 5 and 6 slots when play was halted. Junior Ravi Patel (London, England) held a 5-6 (4), 6-4, 5-0 advantage over No. 89 Dante Saleh at No. 5, was leading Joseph Van Dooren at No. 6, 6-5 (5), 3-6, 5-4.
IN OUR LAST MEETINGS
Drake garnered home victories against both Green Bay and UMKC a year ago as the Bulldogs posted 5-2 and 7-0 triumphs over the Phoenix and Kangaroos, respectively.
In a match not indicative of the final score, Drake withstood a feisty Green Bay squad to post to 5-2 victory past the Phoenix on Feb. 3, 2013, at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
The margin increased to 3-0 after singles victories from McKie and Ben Mullis at the Nos. 1 and 5 slots, respectively.
Earning the clinching tally at No. 6 was Grant Tesmer (Lincoln, Neb.), 7-5, 6-1. Goodman closed out Drake’s victory total with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 3.
The Bulldogs posted a 7-0 win over UMKC in the second of two matches at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center on Feb. 2, 2013.
The Bulldogs opened up singles with victories from Erasmus and Anis Ghorbel to stake Drake to a 3-0 lead.
Earning the match-clinching tally at the No. 3 hole was Salibasic, who notched a 6-0, 6-1 triumph.
Within seconds of one another, Mullis and McKie added wins for the Bulldogs. Tesmer capped the win total for Drake with a 6-1, 6-4 decision at No. 6.
• Drake owns a 101-32 (.759) record since the 2008-09 campaign, including a 48-5 mark at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
• The Bulldogs sport a 72-13 (.847) ledger since the 2011 campaign.
• Drake currently owns a 33-match homecourt winning streak dating back to the 2010 campaign.
• Matt Frost leads the Bulldogs with a 22-11 combined singles/doubles ledger. He is followed by Ben Lott (Newcastle, England) (19-12), Robin Goodman (14-8), freshman Euan McIntosh (Edinburgh, Scotland) (13-6), Alen Salibasic (13-11), Ravi Patel (12-6), Grant Tesmer (8-3), Ben Mullis (7-7) and sophomore Rakshit Rishi (New Delhi, India) (0-1).
• Frost paces Drake with a team-high 14 singles victories this season, while also cracking the 10-win plateau with 13 and 10 victories are Lott and Salibasic.
• Frost led the Bulldogs with an 13-3 singles mark this fall, while Lott, Salibasic and McIntosh added 11, eight and seven wins, respectively. In doubles, Goodman and Patel each registered a team-best seven victories.
DRAKE RECOGNIZED IN ITA PRESEASON RANKINGS
On the strength of its record-setting 2013 campaign, Drake earned its highest preseason ranking in program history, as the Bulldogs were rated No. 30 in the initial Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll.
Coming off its sixth regular season Missouri Valley Conference title in the last seven campaigns and third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Drake established a school record for victories with a 25-4 mark last season. The Bulldogs return five letterwinners from a squad that finished the 2013 spring campaign with a No. 27 national ranking.
Robin Goodman and Ravi Patel were recognized for their efforts in doubles during the fall campaign as the duo garnered the highest doubles ranking in school history at No. 8 nationally. The tandem became the first Drake doubles team to win the ITA Central Regional doubles championship this fall before advancing to the quarterfinals of the ITA/United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Indoor Championships.
In singles, Matt Frost made his debut in the poll at No. 123 nationally.
Also garnering regional recognition in singles were Goodman, Frost, Alen Salibasic, Patel and Ben Lott, who were tabbed seventh, 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th, respectively, in the ITA Central Region. In doubles, Goodman and Patel are the top-rated duo in the region.
A YEAR TO REMEMBER
Drake capped its sixth regular season MVC title in the last seven campaigns and third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance last spring. In the process, the Bulldogs registered their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory after posting a 4-1 decision past No. 34 TCU on May, 10, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif. Drake was recognized for its efforts as five Bulldogs garnered national and regional rankings in the final ITA ratings, while as a team, Drake finished No. 27 nationally.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Drake returns five letterwinners from a squad that posted a school-record 25-4 ledger last spring, including a 5-0 regular season MVC championship.
Robin Goodman and James McKie led Drake with 65 combined singles/doubles victories each, while the Bulldogs also garnered combined win totals of 58, 45, 41, 40, 38, 26 and 18 from Alen Salibasic, Jean Erasmus, Ben Mullis, Anis Ghorbel, Ben Lott, Grant Tesmer and Ryan Drake.
Goodman registered a team-best 36 singles victories a year ago, while McKie and Goodman posted 31 and 29 doubles triumphs, respectively.
DRAKE HEAD COACH DAVIDSON KOZLOWSKI
Davidson Kozlowski was named head men’s tennis coach at Drake on Sept. 6, 2012. This season marks his second campaign directing the Bulldogs’ fortunes.
Kozlowski came to Drake after spending seven seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
By virtue of their 8-5 triumph past Minnesota’s Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg, the duo earned a berth into the United States Tennis Association/ITA National Indoor Championship at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., where Goodman and Patel advanced to the quarterfinal round.
For their efforts, Goodman and Patel achieved a No. 8 national ranking, the highest in program history, in the 2014 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) preseason poll, while Frost checked in at No. 123 nationally in singles. As a team, Drake entered the 2014 spring campaign earning its highest-ever preseason rating at No. 30.
The 2012-13 campaign for the Bulldogs was one for the record books as Kozlowski helped Drake garner its third consecutive and seventh overall NCAA Tournament berth en route to establishing a school record for victories with a 25-4 ledger.
Drake entered the 2013 spring season with its then highest preseason ranking in program history by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), coming in at No. 45.
The Bulldogs opened their campaign with a tough 4-3 setback versus No. 33 Florida State at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Malibu, Calif., before rolling off 17 consecutive victories. During its winning streak, Drake registered triumphs on the road over No. 30 VCU (4-3), No. 66 Minnesota (4-3), No. 14 Washington (4-3) and No. 44 Memphis (4-1).
The Bulldogs achieved their highest ranking in school history on Feb. 26, 2012, as Drake was rated No. 27. The ranking moved up to No. 16 on March 5, 2013, after the Bulldogs downed No. 14 Washington, marking the highest-ranked opponent Drake had ever defeated.
The Bulldogs closed their campaign with a 6-1 mark, including a home win over No. 69 Wisconsin, en route to capturing their third straight regular season Missouri Valley Conference crown.
Kozlowski was honored by his peers for his coaching efforts as the 2013 MVC Coach of the Year, while senior James McKie garnered Player of the Year accolades for Drake for the seventh consecutive campaign. Joining McKie on the first team at the Nos. 2 and 3 singles positions, respectively, were sophomore Alen Salibasic and Goodman, while Jean Erasmus was tabbed to the MVC All-Select squad.
Despite being upset in the finals of the MVC Championship, the Bulldogs captured their first-ever at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Drake took full advantage of its opportunity registering the Bulldogs’ first-ever NCAA Tournament triumph, a 4-1 decision past No. 34 TCU in Los Angeles, Calif., before top-seeded UCLA posted a 4-0 victory over Drake in the second round.
Off the court, Goodman and Salibasic earned first-team All-MVC Men’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete honors, while Erasmus was chosen as an honorable mention selection. Salibasic garnered the MVC Elite 18 award presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point-average competing at the finals site of each of the league’s 18 team championships. He later went on to be named a first-team honoree to the Capital One Academic All-America All-District VI At-Large team, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Senior Anis Ghorbel became only the sixth Drake men’s tennis player to be selected to participate in the NCAA Championship and first since 2008 with his inclusion as an automatic qualifier in the 64-player field. He dropped a 6-3, 4-6, 3-6 decision versus 11th-ranked Sebastian Fanselow of Pepperdine in the opening round at the NCAA Championship in Champaign, Ill.
Kozlowski, 37, came to UAB after spending three years as the Director of Tennis at Birchtree Swim and Racquet Club, a position he continued to hold until his appointment at Drake.
A native of Sarasota, Fla., Kozlowski played collegiate tennis at Auburn (1994-96) before transferring to Florida State for his final two seasons (1997-99). While competing for the Seminoles, Kozlowski was a regular in the FSU lineup both of his years in Tallahassee and played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.
Following graduation from Florida State, Kozlowski played on the Futures and Challenger Circuit from 1999-2002.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from Florida State in 1999.
Kozlowski and his wife, Jennifer, have three children: Alex, Anya and Chase.
The Bulldogs travel to Madison, Wis., to battle No. 70 Wisconsin on Feb. 15. Match time against the Badgers is slated for 11:00 a.m.