Jan. 17, 2014
TULSA, Okla. (SMU) - The SMU Mustangs will head to Tulsa, Okla., for their second and third matches of the season starting Sunday morning. SMU will face Illinois State on Sunday at 8 a.m., and then play No. 30 Drake on Monday at 10 a.m.
SMU has won its last three matches against Illinois State, with the most recent meeting being a 6-1 win in Dallas on Feb. 2, 2008. Illinois State will open its spring season against the Mustangs, coming off a 10-15 season in 2013. The Red Birds' top returnee is Erik Brunskog, who went 21-13 in singles with a 9-2 record at the No. 2 position. Jacob Wilson and Jakub Eisner advanced to the Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championship quarterfinals in the fall, and Muddappa Appanervanda lost in the singles final at the Ball State Invitational.
Drake will open its season on Friday against Northern Illinois before heading to Tulsa. The Bulldogs won their sixth regular season MVC title in seven seasons. Drake went 25-4 last year, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year and ending the season ranked 27th nationally. The Bulldogs are led in doubles by Robin Goodman and Ravi Patel, who rank eighth in the nation and first in the central region. The duo won the ITA Central Regional doubles title in the fall and also advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA/USTA National Indoor Championships. Matt Frost is Drake's lone ranked singles player, sitting at No. 123 to begin the spring.
"We've got two exciting matches coming up," Head Coach Carl Neufeld said. "We're looking forward to continued improvement and a competitive pair of matches against the 30th ranked team in the nation in Drake and Illinois State, who is one of the top teams in the Missouri Valley."
Alex Sanders and Nate Lammons will look to continue their strong doubles play, coming off an impressive 6-3 win over Nick Naumann and David Holiner of No. 20 Texas on Saturday. Sanders and Lammons are currently ranked eighth in the Texas region with an 11-3 overall record in the 2013-14 campaign. Arturs Kazijevs represents SMU in the singles rankings at No. 73.