Drake Closes Fall Campaign With Pair Of Tournaments
The Drake men’s tennis team closes its fall campaign this weekend participating in a pair of tournaments. The majority of the Bulldogs will take part in the Missouri Valley Conference Individuals hosted by Drake at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center this Friday (Nov. 8) through Sunday (Nov. 10).
Senior Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England) and junior Ravi Patel (London, England) travel to Flushing, N.Y., to compete in doubles at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA)/United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships hosted by Columbia University at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The MVC Individuals will take on a new format this year with one 64-player draw and a singles 16-team doubles flight. Singles action begins tournament play on Friday (Nov. 8) at 8:30 a.m. Doubles competition is slated to commence on Saturday (Nov. 9) at 9:00 a.m. On Sunday (Nov. 10), the final two rounds of doubles and the championship singles and consolation matches begin at 9:00 a.m.
Goodman and Patel have received a first-round bye and are scheduled to open tournament action versus the winner of the contest between Sam Fleck and Chris Vrabel of Cornell and Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka from Ohio State on Thursday (Nov. 7). Live scoring will be available at gocolumbialions.com.
ITA CENTRAL REGIONAL RECAP
The Drake doubles tandem of Robin Goodman and Ravi Patel culminated its run at the ITA Central Regional on Oct. 21 in Tulsa, Okla., with a doubles championship on the strength of an 8-5 triumph past Minnesota’s Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg.
The Bulldogs’ duo is believed to be the first Drake doubles squad to capture a regional title in program history.
Goodman and Patel fell behind Froment and Hamburg early in the match as the Golden Gopher duo held a 5-4 lead. Goodman and Patel staved off several key game points en route to breaking Minnesota’s serve before rattling off four unanswered tallies to clinch the match.
In singles, sophomore Ben Lott (Newcastle, England) and junior Matt Frost (Cambridge, England) came up short in their respective bids to play for the singles championship, each suffering semifinal setbacks.
Top-seeded and No. 44 ranked Dane Webb of Oklahoma registered a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over Lott.
Frost fell to another Sooner as third-seeded and No. 85 Axel Alvarez garnered a 6-3, 6-1 decision.
A YEAR AGO
Establishing the tone for the rest of the MVC that the Drake men’s tennis team was the squad to beat in 2013, the Bulldogs captured a league-record nine titles on the final day of the MVC Individuals on Jan. 20, 2013, at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
The nine championships equaled the conference record for titles set by Indiana State in 2002, while surpassing the school mark of eight, which was previously established in 1993 and 2012.
In doubles, Drake garnered victories in each of its three semifinal matches to advance its teams to their respective championship contests.
Turning in the Bulldogs’ third title of the day at No. 5 singles was Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England), who netted a 6-2, 6-2 triumph past Sean Mathison of Creighton.
Pulling in his second career singles crown was Goodman, who recorded a 6-2, 6-2 win over Erik Brunskog of Illinois State in the No. 2 draw.
Drake tallied its fifth championship at No. 3, where Alen Salibasic edged Ahmed Albitar of Bradley, 6-3, 6-3. Taking home the crown at No. 1 was James McKie, who recorded a 6-3, 6-1 triumph over Matheus Pereira of Wichita State.
Registering his third career singles title with a 6-4, 6-2 win past Gutierrez from Wichita State was Erasmus at No. 4. Lott provided Drake its eighth championship dispatching Rolando Torrellas of Illinois State at No. 6, 6-3, 6-2.
Rounding out the victory total for the Bulldogs at No. 7 was Tesmer, who earned his second title of the day besting Michael Sellitto of Illinois State, 6-2, 6-3.
GOODMAN GARNERS PRESEASON ITA SINGLES RANKING
Senior Robin Goodman earned national recognition for his play when the ITA released its national preseason singles and doubles rankings.
Posting a team-best 65-15 combined singles/doubles mark last season, including 36-5 in singles en route to being named a first-team All-MVC honoree; Goodman came in at No. 88 in the national singles tabulations
A YEAR TO REMEMBER
Drake capped its sixth regular season MVC title in the last seven campaigns and third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this past 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.
• Matt Frost leads the Bulldogs with an 11-2 singles mark this fall, while Ben Lott and freshman Euan McIntosh (Edinburgh, Scotland) have added eight and seven wins, respectively. In doubles, Robin Goodman and Ravi Patel each have a team-best six victories.
• Drake currently owns a 32-match homecourt winning streak dating back to the 2010 campaign.
• Goodman, James McKie and Alen Salibasic surpassed the combined 50-win plateau last season as the trio owned 65, 65 and 58 victories, respectively.
• Goodman directed Drake with a 65-15 combined singles/doubles ledger. He was followed by McKie (65-22), Salibasic (58-26), Erasmus (45-22), Ben Mullis (41-13), Anis Ghorbel (40-19), Ben Lott (38-13), Tesmer (26-9) and Ryan Drake (18-12).
DRAKE HEAD COACH DAVIDSON KOZLOWSKI
Davidson Kozlowski, an assistant coach the last seven seasons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is in his second season as head men’s tennis coach at Drake University after being named to his position on Sept. 6, 2012.
He stepped in immediately in his first season and sparked the Bulldogs to a school-record 25-4 ledger and Drake’s sixth regular season Missouri Valley Conference title in the last seven campaigns and third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Drake established its highest ranking in school history on March 5, 2013 when the Bulldogs checked in at No. 16. On the strength of its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, a 4-1 decision past No. 34 TCU on May 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif., Drake finished the year 27th in the final ITA poll.
The Bulldogs were well represented when the annual MVC postseason awards were announced as Drake garnered Player of the Year accolades for the seventh-consecutive campaign as senior James McKie became the fifth Drake player to earn the award since its inception in 2007.
Kozlowski was chosen by his peers as the MVC Coach of the Year.
Garnering first team recognition in singles were McKie, Alen Salibasic and Robin Goodman at the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 singles slots, respectively. Pulling in MVC All-Select team accolades was senior Jean Erasmus.
During the 2012 fall campaign, senior Anis Ghorbel and Goodman advanced to the semifinals of the ITA Central Regional, while Salibasic qualified for the quarterfinal round. In doubles, the duo of Ghorbel and McKie reached the championship match of the ITA Central Regional and along the way dealt the No. 1 doubles team in the country a loss.
During his tenure in Birmingham, Ala., Kozlowski spearheaded recruiting, assisted with team travel and budget management and coordinated fundraising and community outreach.
The Blazers concluded the 2011 season with a 17-9 overall record, their highest-victory total since posting 19 wins in 2000. UAB rose to as high as No. 59 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranking before concluding the campaign at No. 75.
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. 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.
Drake opens its spring campaign hosting Northern Illinois on Jan. 17, 2014, at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.