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Senior Robin Goodman
Courtesy: Sean Palchick

MVC Regular Season Title On The Line As Drake Hosts Wichita State

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: April 16, 2014
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The Missouri Valley Conference regular season title will be on the line when the 38th-ranked Drake men’s tennis team hosts Wichita State in its regular season finale on Friday (April 18) at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. Match time against the Shockers is set for 2:00 p.m. The winner of the contest will earn the outright conference championship and the No. 1 seed at next week’s MVC Championship in Normal, Ill. The Bulldog have won each of the last three regular season league championships.

ONE FINAL HOME MATCH FOR GOODMAN
The Bulldogs’ tilt with Wichita State this Friday (April 18) marks the final home match in the Drake career of senior Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England). He enters the contest with a 186-62 combined singles/doubles record over his four seasons, a total that is seventh-best in program history. He has posted a 36-18 combined singles/doubles record this season, including a 3-0 mark in league singles matches. A first-team All-MVC performer in singles in 2013 after garnering first-team accolades in doubles in 2012, he also was named a first-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete honoree in 2013. Since 2007-08, his 107 singles wins are the second-most at Drake, while also owning the fourth-highest total in doubles triumphs with 79.
   
BULLDOGS NET 7-0 WIN AT BRADLEY
The 38th-rated Drake men’s tennis team extended its winning streak to 10 with a 7-0 victory past Bradley in its regular season road finale last Sunday (April 13).

The Bulldogs captured the only point they needed in the affair sweeping all three doubles matches to assume a 1-0 lead.

Earning the doubles tally with an 8-4 decision at the No. 2 position were juniors Ravi Patel (London, England) and Grant Tesmer (Lincoln, Neb.).

Junior Alen Salibasic (Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina) began singles play for the Bulldogs dispatching Arthur Romanet at the top singles slot, 6-2, 6-0.

Pushing the margin to 3-0 in favor of Drake at No. 3 was senior Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England), 6-2, 6-0.

Pulling in the match-clinching point on the strength of a 6-1, 6-0 triumph at No. 4 was Patel.

The Bulldogs also received victories at the Nos. 2, 5 and 6 positions, respectively, from sophomore Ben Lott (Newcastle, England), Tesmer and sophomore Rakshit Rishi (New Delphi, India).

Rishi finished first winning on the No. 6 court, 6-2, 6-3, before Tesmer dispatched Daniel Tiboldi at No. 5, 6-1, 6-0.

Lott closed out Drake’s victory total downing Ashton Kalhorn at the No. 2 spot, 6-1, 7-6 (5).

DRAKE EARNS 6-1 TRIUMPH AT ILLINOIS STATE
Drake extended its winning streak to nine registering a 6-1 triumph at Illinois State last Saturday (April 12).

The Bulldogs ground out victories at the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles positions to garner the point and assume a 1-0 lead entering singles action.

Clinching the deciding tally with an 8-7 (1) triumph at the No. 2 doubles slot was the Drake tandem of juniors Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England) and Alen Salibasic.

Robin Goodman opened singles play edging Jakub Eisner at the No. 3 position, 6-1, 6-1.

Extending Drake’s lead to 3-0 with a 1-6, 6-0, 6-3 decision at No. 4 was junior Matt Frost (Cambridge, England).

The Redbirds’ Erik Brunskog got Illinois State on the board with a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1) triumph over Salibasic on the top court to cut Drake’s lead to 3-1.

Collecting the match-clinching tally for the Bulldogs at No. 6 was Mullis, 6-4, 7-6 (7).

Drake also received victories at the Nos. 2 and 5 positions, respectively, from Ben Lott and Ravi Patel.

Lott netted a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 triumph over Jacob Wilson at No. 2, while Patel bested Appanervanda, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 at No. 5.

IN OUR LAST MEETINGS
Wichita State 4, Drake 3 (April 28, 2013)
WICHITA, Kan. - The then 27th-ranked Drake men’s tennis team knew it was in for a battle in the title match of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Championship and the showdown with Wichita State came down to the wire before the Shockers captured a 4-3 victory and the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth.

Wichita State jumped to an early 1-0 advantage after capturing triumphs at the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles spots to garner the doubles tally.

James McKie evened the affair at one in singles besting Ilija Cuic at No. 2, 6-1, 6-1.

Anis Ghorbel provided Drake its first lead of the afternoon on the strength of a 6-2, 7-5 win on the No. 1 court.

Alen Salibasic claimed the first set in his showdown versus Tomislav Gregurovic at No. 4 before dropping the final two sets in a 6-3, 3-6, 5-7 setback that squared the tilt at two.

The Shockers claimed a come-from-behind three-set triumph on the No. 5 court to increase their lead to 3-2 as Erik Reyes bested Jean Erasmus, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Ben Mullis turned in a gritty effort at No. 6 to even the tilt at three after erasing a 6-5 third-set deficit to post a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory past Guillermo Nicol.

Tin Ostojic punched the Shockers’ NCAA ticket when he netted a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over Robin Goodman on the No. 3 court.

Drake 4, Wichita State 2 (April 7, 2013)
WICHITA, Kan. - Displaying the championship fortitude that has catapulted the then 23rd-ranked Drake men’s tennis team to back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference titles, the Bulldogs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to collect a 4-2 victory at Wichita State.

The Shockers gained early momentum in the affair capturing the doubles point after Tomislav Gregurovic and Guillermo Nicol posted an 8-5 decision at the No. 3 position over Robin Goodman and Ben Mullis.

Wichita State extended its lead to 2-0 in singles after Erick Reyes bested Ben Lott on the No. 6 court, 6-0, 6-3.

Alen Salibasic began the Bulldogs’ comeback notching a 6-4, 6-2 triumph at No. 2.

Mullis followed by evening the score at two with a 6-3, 6-2 decision at No. 5.

Putting Drake ahead to stay at the No. 3 hole with a 6-3, 6-4 victory was Goodman.

James McKie then slammed the door on the Shockers’ upset bid netting the match-clinching tally with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph versus Matheus Pereira at the top spot.

The match at No. 4 between Jean Erasmus and Gregurovic went unfinished with Erasmus leading in the third set.

DRAKE ODDS-N-ENDS
•    Drake is currently riding an 10-match winning streak. Since the 2011 campaign, the Bulldogs have recorded winning streaks of seven or more victories on six occasions.
•    Drake enters action this week needing one victory to register its fourth consecutive 20-win campaign.
•    Robin Goodman owns a 17-3 singles record this spring and has won his last nine singles contests.
•    The Bulldogs extended their regular season Missouri Valley Conference winning streak to 18 with wins last weekend at Illinois State and Bradley. Since 2011, Drake is 23-1 overall against conference foes with the one loss occurring against Wichita State in the championship match of the 2013 MVC Championship on the Shockers’ homecourt.
•    Since the 2007 season, the Bulldogs have registered a 39-2 regular season mark against league opponents en route to capturing regular season conference titles in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
•    Goodman registered his 100th career singles triumph with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Alexander Day of Princeton on March 20. He became the first Bulldog to reach 100 career singles victories since James McKie, who recorded 109 for Drake from 2009-13. He currently owns 107 career singles wins.
•    After starting the campaign with an 0-3 mark versus ranked opponents, the Bulldogs have won nine of their last 11 matches against ranked foes.
•    Goodman and Ravi Patel are ranked 35th in the latest ITA national doubles rankings released on April 15.
•    Drake has received strong support from the bottom half of its singles lineup as the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 positions have combined to register an 41-10 record, including a 15-1 mark at the No. 5 spot. The top half of the lineup owns a 47-17 ledger.
•     Ben Lott leads the Bulldogs with a 40-21 combined singles/doubles ledger. He is followed by Matt Frost (39-22), Patel (37-12), Goodman (36-18), Alen Salibasic (34-19), Ben Mullis (26-15), freshman Euan McIntosh (Edinburgh, Scotland) (13-6), Grant Tesmer (11-3) and sophomore Rakshit Rishi (4-1).
•    The Bulldogs are 8-2 in their last 10 meetings with Big Ten Conference schools following their 4-0 win at Nebraska on March 9.
•    Patel owns a 16-1 singles mark this spring, including 15 consecutive victories.
•    Since the 2007-08 campaign, Goodman, Salibasic and Mullis are ranked second, fifth and seventh at Drake in singles victories with 107, 83 and 63, respectively.
•    Goodman and Salibasic are rated fifth and eighth in combined singles/doubles records since 2007-08 at Drake owning 186-62 and 141-63 ledgers. In doubles, the duo finds itself fourth (78) and sixth (56) for the Bulldogs.
•    Goodman and Mullis are ranked third and fifth, respectively, at Drake (since the 2007-08 campaign) in winning percentage in singles play with winning percentages of .843 (107-20) and .797 (63-16).
•    Drake owns a 118-34 (.776) record since the 2008-09 campaign, including a 55-6 mark at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
•    The Bulldogs sport a 89-15 (.856) ledger since the 2011 campaign.
•    Drake has garnered eight MVC Player of the Week honors. Goodman (Jan. 21, March 4 & 25) and Salibasic (Feb. 18 & 25 and March 18) have each collected the weekly accolades three times, while Mullis (March 11) and Patel own the other awards for the Bulldogs.
•     Lott paces Drake with a team-high 27 singles victories this season. Cracking the 10-win plateau with 22, 22, 20, 19 and 16 victories are Frost, Salibasic, Goodman, Patel and Mullis.

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. 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.

This past fall, Kozlowski helped guide senior Robin Goodman and junior Ravi Patel to become what is believed to be the first Drake doubles squad to capture a regional title in program history. 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.

Drake had two players reach the semifinal round of the ITA Central Regional in singles for the second consecutive year as junior Matt Frost and sophomore Ben Lott advanced to the semifinals.

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, 38, 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.

UP NEXT
Having already clinched a bye into the Missouri Valley Conference Championship semifinals, the Bulldogs will open tournament play in Normal, Ill., on April 26 against an opponent yet to be determined.

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