Men's Tennis Set to Take on Pair of Ranked Big Ten Teams
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Monday 03/08/2013
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MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois men's tennis (7-11 overall, 1-0 Summit) is set to take on a pair of ranked teams this weekend in #70 Wisconsin and #18 Northwestern.


THE BREAKDOWN

WHO: Western Illinois at #70 Wisconsin
WHEN: Saturday, March 9, 4 p.m.
LOCATION: Madison, Wis.
VENUE: Nielsen Tennis Stadium

WHO: Western Illinois at #18 Northwestern
WHEN: Sunday, March 10, 7 p.m.
LOCATION: Evanston, Ill.
VENUE: Combe Tennis Center

NOTES

LIKELY LINEUP: Freshman Christoph Haertel enters as the normal top singles player, though he has battled a nagging injury. 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, and has played his last four matches at top singles.

Another freshman, Bradley Holt, has seen action at No. 1, 2, and 3 singles. Just the second four-star recruit in WIU men's tennis history, Holt is tied for best on the team with an 8-9 singles mark.

Junior Ben Yue also brings collegiate experience into the Leatherneck lineup, including anywhere between top singles and fourth singles this season. Yue had a team best 9-8 record at No. 2 singles in 2011-12.

Western's typical 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 is one of three Leathernecks with an 8-9 record.

The sixth singles slot is held by another freshman, Max Cederkall, who has played as high as third singles this year. The Sweden native is 8-9 in singles play, including 3-2 in the sixth slot.

Chris Bunch (4-6), Brandon Meeker (3-6) and Brett Furmanski (2-0) have also seen singles action.

At doubles, the top slot is held by the two most experienced players on the team in Hammers and Yue.

Holt and Haertel have combined for an impressive 5-2 doubles record so far this year, including 4-2 at No. 2 doubles.

The combination of Granger and Brandon Meeker is typically slotted at third doubles.

A LOOK AT THE BADGERS: Wisconsin enters the match with a 7-2 overall record, falling only to #57 Clemson and #29 Notre Dame...The Badgers also defeated a pair of ranked teams: #40 Minnesota and #75 UC-Irvine...Oscar Wikberg is ranked the 18th-best singles player in the region, and currently holds a 4-5 singles record...Alexander Kostanov has a team-best 8-0 mark in singles action, including 6-0 at No. 4 singles...The Badgers played Kansas City earlier this season and won, 7-0.

A LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Northwestern begins the day with a 13-4 overall record...The Wildcats are 7-4 against ranked opponents, holding wins over #30 Notre Dame, #34 Louisville, #35 North Carolina State, #43 Virginia Tech, #43 Middle Tennessee State, #53 Denver, and #69 New Mexico, and losses to #5 Duke, #17 Illinois, #40 Vanderbilt and #47 Harvard...Spencer Wolf is currently the 120th-ranked singles player in the NCAA, and he holds a 12-9 singles record...Raleigh Smith, the eighth-ranked player in the region, has a team-best 17-4 record.

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 an 8-9 singles record to go along with a 9-7 doubles mark.

CLEAN SWEEP: The Leathernecks won a pair of matches on Feb. 12 over Illinois College and Lindenwood-Belleville, not losing a set on the day...Western beat IC 7-0 before topping Lindenwood-Belleville 9-0...Four Leathernecks picked up four wins on the day.

PRESEASON POLL: 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 will have almost a month off, eventually returning to Summit League play as the team travels to Kansas City on April 6.


WIU Tennis-Men's


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