MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois men's tennis continues its 21-match road swing as it takes on Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts in the Sooner state on Sunday.
The Leathernecks will open the day against Oklahoma State at 9 a.m. before battling with Oral Roberts at 7:30 p.m.
LIKELY LINEUP: Freshman Christoph Haertel enters as the top singles player. The Germany native was a top junior player overseas and all-state at Quincy High School as a foreign exchange student.
At No. 2 singles, senior Patrick Hammers brings the most collegiate experience to the Leatherneck lineup. As the only senior on the roster, Hammers is a two-time All-Summit League selection.
Another freshman, Bradley Holt, will likely be slotted at No. 3 singles. Just the second four-star recruit in WIU men's tennis history, Holt was a two-time all-state honoree in high school and is ranked as the No. 107 player in the United States.
Junior Ben Yue
also brings collegiate experience into the Leatherneck lineup, likely
at No. 4 singles. Yue had a team best 9-8 record at No. 2 singles in
Western's No. 5 singles player, sophomore Mitch Granger, is currently ranked by the ITA as the No. 17 singles player in the NCAA Division I central region. Granger ended the fall season on a strong note at the ITA Midwest Regional, beating players from Minnesota and Southern Illinois.
The sixth singles slot is held by another freshman, Max Cederkall. The Sweden native has a 2-1 singles record so far in 2013.
A LOOK AT THE COWBOYS: Oklahoma State is playing in its home opener after a 1-2 record during its season-opening road trop to Knoxville, Tenn. where the Cowboys fell to Tennessee (4-0) and ETSU (4-2), while grabbing its first win against Tennessee Tech (4-0)...Rifat Biktyakov is the 15th-ranked singles player in the Central region according to ITA...Oklahoma State finished 2011-12 with a 7-14 record, though the schedule included 13 ranked opponents.
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN EAGLES: Oral Roberts is winless through its first two road matches, falling to Nicholls State (6-1) and New Orleans (7-0)...ORU and Western Illinois were Summit League foes through last year, before the program moved to the Southland Conference...The Leathernecks topped the Golden Eagles 5-2 last year, as Oral Roberts finished the season 1-15 overall.
WEEK'S BEST: Freshman Bradley Holt is off to a hot start to open his collegiate career...He was named the Summit League Men's Tennis Player of the Week after the opening weekend...Holt currently holds a 2-1 singles record to go along with a 2-0 doubles record.
The Leathernecks were tabbed to finish fourth out of six teams in the
Summit League preseason poll...Kansas City is the favorite to win the
league, receiving four first-place votes...Western Illinois was
projected ahead of South Dakota State and Omaha.
ON DECK: Western continues its road swing next weekend, with matches at Iowa on Friday, Creighton on Saturday and Omaha on Sunday.