Drake Set To Square Off Against Utah And No. 44 Nebraska
Having won five of its last six matches, the Drake men’s tennis team visits Lincoln, Neb., this weekend to battle Utah and No. 44 Nebraska. The Bulldogs will square off against the Utes on Saturday (March 8) at 2:00 p.m. before another matinee affair on Sunday (March 9) versus the Huskers, also at 2:00 p.m.
GOODMAN NAMED MVC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The Missouri Valley Conference announced that Drake senior Robin Goodman (Cambridge, England) was honored as the MVC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week. The accolades marked the third consecutive week in which a Bulldog has taken home the award, while also representing the fourth time in Goodman’s career he has won the honor.
Goodman posted a 4-0 combined singles/doubles ledger last week leading Drake to a pair of wins over Graceland and No. 55 Iowa.
Goodman paired with junior Ravi Patel (London, England) to garner the clinching doubles point at the No. 1 position before adding a 6-0, 6-4 triumph at No. 2 singles against the Yellowjackets.
In the Bulldogs’ 7-0 victory past No. 55 Iowa, he again clinched the doubles tally, this time pairing with sophomore Ben Lott (Newcastle, England) on the No. 1 court to record an 8-5 decision. In singles, he bested Brian Alden at the No.3 position, 6-3, 6-4.
BULLDOGS WIN IN-STATE SHOWDOWN OVER IOWA, 7-0
Drake entered its in-state showdown with No. 55 Iowa seeking to make a statement and the 65th-rated Bulldogs did just that registering a 7-0 victory over the Hawkeyes on Feb. 26 at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs captured the early momentum in the affair garnering the doubles point on the strength of victories at the Nos. 1 and 3 positions.
Junior Ben Mullis (Leicestershire, England) opened singles play extending the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0, dispatching Swank on the No. 6 court, 6-1, 6-1.
Patel stretched Drake’s margin to 3-0, netting a 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 5.
Clinching the match with a dramatic 7-6 (5), 6-2 triumph past Jonas Dierckx on the No. 1 court was junior Alen Salibasic (Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina).
Goodman followed with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Alden on court No. 3.
Drake also received victories at the Nos. 2 and 4 positions courtesy of Lott and Frost.
Frost edged Hagan at No. 4, 6-4, 6-1; before Lott capped the evening with a 6-2, 7-6 (0) win over Juan Estenssoro at No. 2.
DRAKE ROLLS PAST GRACELAND, 7-0
Sophomore Rakshit Rishi (New Delphi, India) notched his first two career victories to help lead No. 65 Drake to a 7-0 victory past Graceland on Feb. 26 at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs were dominant in doubles capturing the point on the strength of an 8-2 decision from Robin Goodman and Ravi Patel at the No. 1 position. The 19th-ranked duo bested Birkir Gunnarsson and Jose Razo.
Goodman pushed Drake’s advantage to 2-0 in singles winning at No. 2, 6-0, 6-4.
Ben Mullis extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 3-0 downing on the No. 4 court, 6-1, 6-2.
Clinching the victory for Drake at the No. 5 slot was junior Grant Tesmer (Lincoln, Neb.), 6-2, 6-1.
The Bulldogs also received wins at the Nos. 1, 3 and 6 positions from Ben Lott, Patel and Rishi.
IN OUR LAST MEETINGS
Drake 4, Nebraska 3 (Feb. 8, 2013)
LINCOLN, Neb. - Overcoming dropping the doubles point, the then No. 41 Bulldogs registered four straight victories in singles play en route to earning a 4-3 triumph past Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers stole the early momentum in the affair sweeping all three doubles matches to assume a 1-0 lead.
The advantage was short-lived as the Bulldogs came out firing in singles competition with Jean Erasmus evening the tilt at one downing Sebastian Florczyk at No. 5, 6-1, 6-2.
Anis Ghorbel pushed Drake’s lead to 2-1 besting Andre Stenger at No. 1, 6-4, 6-4.
The senior leadership continued to ignite the Bulldogs as James McKie registered a 6-4, 6-3 triumph at No. 2 to extend the margin to 3-1.
Rallying after dropping the opening set in his showdown with Eric Sock on the No. 3 court, 6-1, was Robin Goodman, who collected the match-clinching point with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Nebraska added wins at No. 4 and 6 positions to account for the final 4-3 margin.
Drake and Utah are meeting for the first time.
• 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 18-4 record, including a perfect 8-0 mark at the No. 4 spot. The top half of the lineup owns an 18-11 ledger.
• Entering their showdown with Nebraska on Sunday (March 9), the Bulldogs have won seven of their last 10 meetings with schools from the Big Ten Conference.
• A year ago, Drake posted a 1-1 record versus teams from the Pac-12 Conference. The Bulldogs bested then No. 14 Washington, 4-3, on March 2, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minn., before falling to top-ranked UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Championship on May 11, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif.
• The Bulldogs finished the month of February having won 22 consecutive home matches in the month. Drake’s last setback in the month at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center occurred on Feb. 24, 2010, in a 4-3 setback versus Iowa.
• Drake currently owns a 37-match homecourt winning streak dating back to the 2010 campaign.
• Matt Frost leads the Bulldogs with a 30-13 combined singles/doubles ledger. He is followed by Ben Lott (26-14), Ravi Patel (22-8), Alen Salibasic (20-11), Robin Goodman (20-11), freshman Euan McIntosh (Edinburgh, Scotland) (13-6), Ben Mullis (12-9), Grant Tesmer (9-3) and sophomore Rakshit Rishi (2-1).
• Salibasic owns a 7-3 record in his last 10 singles matches, including three straight wins.
• Drake’s setback at Minnesota Feb. 22 snapped a 22-match winning streak in the month of February.
• Patel leads Drake during the spring campaign with a 7-1 singles mark, including six consecutive victories.
• Since the 2007-08 campaign, Goodman, Salibasic and Mullis are ranked fourth, fifth and eighth at Drake in singles victories with 96, 75 and 55, respectively.
• Goodman and Salibasic are rated seventh and ninth in combined singles/doubles records since 2007-08 at Drake owning 170-55 and 127-55 ledgers. In doubles, the duo finds itself fourth (74) and sixth (52) 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 .835 (96-19) and .786 (55-15).
• Drake owns a 106-33 (.763) record since the 2008-09 campaign, including a 52-5 mark at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
• The Bulldogs sport a 77-14 (.846) ledger since the 2011 campaign.
• Frost paces Drake with a team-high 18 singles victories this season, while also cracking the 10-win plateau with 17, 14 and 110 victories are Lott, Salibasic and Patel.
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.
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, 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.
Drake travels to Atlanta, Ga., to square off against No. 56 New Mexico and No. 73 Georgia State on March 16 and 17, respectively.