March 31, 2014
The SMU Mustangs will hit the road after a nine-day layoff for a match at TCU on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. CT. SMU is coming off two consecutive losses to teams ranked in the top 25. Prior to those matches, SMU won three straight home matches from March 7-16. SMU swept Nicholls State, 4-0, on March 7; beat Cleveland State, 6-1, on March 10 and then shutout Portland, 6-0, on March 16. The Mustangs are 9-9 on the season, including a 6-1 mark at home.
TCU is 9-9 this season and is currently ranked 55th in the nation, but has lost its last two. The Horned Frogs have been ranked has high as 35th this season, and have beaten two ranked teams in 2014 - No. 35 Florida State, 4-3, on Jan. 25 and No. 32 Pepperdine, 4-2, on March 8. TCU has three players ranked in the ITA Top 125, led by Nick Chappell at No. 46, and joined by Facundo Lugones at No.107 and Arnau Dachs at No. 121. Chappell and Will Stein are currently No. 16 on the doubles rankings and Dachs is paired with Trey Daniel to rank at No. 73.
TCU has won the last three meetings between the programs from 2011-13. SMU won four of five matches in the series between 2006 and 2010. SMU's last win in Fort Worth came on March 7, 2007, a 4-3 victory for the Mustangs.
On the matchup against TCU... "TCU is a very good team and we're looking forward to playing them. As usual, they've had a very good season, and we're excited to go to Fort Worth and play them."
On the anticipated crowd at TCU... "TCU does a great job with promotions and there will be a great crowd, which will make the match even more exciting."
On playing a difficult schedule this season... "The schedule is one of the toughest we've ever played, and it helps us to reach our ultimate goal of playing our best tennis at the end of the season and play in the NCAA Championships.
SMU's two seniors - Alex Sanders and Mischa Nowicki, have played strong tennis as of late, and earned the praise of head coach Carl Neufeld. "Our seniors are leading the way for us," Neufeld said after SMU's tight 4-3 loss to No. 19 Columbia on March 18. Sanders leads the Mustangs with 10 wins in dual matches, including a 5-3 record at No. 3 singles. Sanders won two matches at No. 1 from March 7-10 against Nicholls State and Cleveland State, and is 6-3 in his last nine decisions. Nowicki has six wins in dual matches, including in two of his last three matches against Portland and No. 19 Columbia. Nowicki now has 42 wins in his career at SMU.
SUCCESS AT SIX
The SMU Mustangs hold a 10-5 record in No. 6 singles, their top mark for any singles spot. Nate Lammons is 4-2 when playing at six, while freshmen Juliio Olaya (4-0) and Arkidjas Slobodkins (2-1) have also garnered strong results at the position. Lammons also played solid tennis at No. 6 last season, going 9-5 in 2013 to total a 13-6 record over his two seasons.
ROAD FROM RIGA
SMU has two players that hail from Riga, Latvia - junior Arturs Kazijevs and freshman Arkidjas Slobodkins. Kazijevs began the season nationally ranked in singles and currently holds a 6-6 record, playing 10 matches at the No. 1 spot. Slobodkins began his collegiate career in January, and won six of his first seven matches. Last season, Kazijevs earned First Team All-Conference USA honors and ended the 2012-13 season ranked 108th in the nation.
SMU's three freshmen, Arkidjas Slobodkins, Julio Olaya and Tony Russell, have accumulated 16 wins in dual matches this spring and 21 wins overall with a winning percentage of 52.5%. Slobodkins has four wins at No. 5 singles, Olaya has four victories at No. 6 and Russell is a perfect 2-0 when playing at the No. 5 spot.
ACES IN PAIRS
The Mustangs boast a 34-24 overall record in doubles for the 2013-14 season, led by the tandem of Nate Lammons and Alex Sanders, who are 17-7 overall and 7-4 in the spring. The duo won the doubles title at the Jack Kramer Club Invite in the fall, and have won three straight decisions this spring. Arturs Kazijevs and Mischa Nowicki are 5-5 in dual matches at the No. 1 position, while Nowicki and Arkidjas Slobodkins are 2-1 after winning their first two appearances at No. 1.
MUSTANGS RETURN FIVE LETTERWINNERS
Arturs Kazijevs, Alex Sanders, Mischa Nowicki, Nate Lammons and Eduardo Razzeto all return for the Mustangs this season. Kazijevs finished 2012-13 ranked in the ITA top 125 in singles, earning First Team All-Conference USA honors. Kazijevs and Nowicki teamed up to earn a second team spot in doubles. Sanders and Nowicki are the only seniors on the team. Joining the team. Tony Russell will make his spring debut after redshirting last season, and both Julio Olaya and Arkidjas Slobodkins will join the roster as freshmen.
LAST TIME OUT (3/22/14):
SMU DROPS MATCH TO #5 BAYLOR, 7-0
The SMU Mustangs took two singles matches to three sets, but ultimately fell to the fifth-ranked Baylor Bears, 7-0, in Waco, Texas.
Alex Sanders took No. 31 Diego Galeano to three sets at No. 3 singles. The SMU senior dropped the first set, 6-7 (5), but bounced back to win the next frame 7-6 (5). Galeano, who entered the day 7-1 at No. 3 singles for the season, won the third set, 12-10.
SMU's Nate Lammons played to three sets at No. 6 singles against Vince Schneider after dropping the first set, 1-6. Lammons rebounded to win the second set, 6-3, but Schneider won the point after winning set three, 7-6 (5). Four of Baylor's singles players are ranked in the ITA national rankings.
Baylor won at No. 1 and 3 doubles to clinch the opening point of the day.