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Men’s tennis draws 13th-seeded Ole Miss in NCAAs
Bearcats will head down to Oxford, Miss. for May 12 first round match against SEC power
May 1, 2012Tweet
Contact: John Hartrick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
VESTAL, N.Y. – Binghamton men’s tennis will head down to Oxford, Miss. for an NCAA first-round matchup with host and 13th-seeded Ole Miss on May 12. The Bearcats watched the 64-team national tournament draw unfold Tuesday night from the Events Center. It will be the second time BU faces SEC power Ole Miss in the NCAAs. Back in 2004, the Bearcats faced the then-8th-ranked Rebels in Oxford.
Ole Miss is hosting the first two rounds on May 12-13 at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. Middle Tennessee State (19-7) faces Michigan (16-6) in the first match of the day at 10 a.m., followed by the BU-Ole Miss match at 1 p.m. (ET). The two winners will square off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 13.
Binghamton (15-11) will be making its fifth straight appearance at the NCAA Championship and eighth in the last 10 years. The Bearcats clinched the America East title and the automatic berth on Sunday with a 4-1 win over UMBC at the USTA National Tennis Center. The team will bring an eight-match win streak into the national tournament.
Ole Miss (13-8), ranked 13th in the latest ITA Rankings, advanced to the SEC semifinals with wins over Arkansas and Florida in the conference tournament. The Rebels have advanced to the NCAAs in 18 of the last 19 years.
“Mississippi will be a difficult task,” head coach Adam Cohen said. “We were expecting to play someone right around that range (ranking) so it’s not a surprise. The biggest thing for us will be to get down there and get acclimated to the conditions. It will be hot and humid. We will try to put in a good week of practice and do the best we can.”
Senior No. 1 Alexandre Haggai, the Most Outstanding Player at the conference championship, anchors BU’s lineup. Haggai has won 19 singles matches and 19 doubles matches this season and with his doubles win over UMBC in the title match, Haggai became the program’s all-time doubles wins leader with 73.
But BU’s strength this year has been the bottom of the lineup where it’s No. 5 and No. 6 players have gone a combined 34-18 in duals.
Juniors Ruben Devos and Bastian Bornkessel form the team’s top doubles tandem. The pair have won seven straight matches and are 16-8 at the top spot this year.
Devos, who will graduate early, also plays No. 2 singles – meaning next fall Cohen will have to replace his top two singles players one year after having to replace his top three singles players.
But three freshmen and four underclassmen occupy spots in that starting lineup: freshmen Ismael Dinia (No. 3), Robin Lesage (No. 4) and Florian van Kann (No. 6) and sophomore Ruben Haggai (No. 5). Dinia is 27-13 overall – the best singles mark of any Bearcat. Lesage is 11-2 in duals at the No. 4 position and van Kann is 8-1 in duals and won both his matches at the America East Championship.
Binghamton had to reload after absorbing heavy losses to graduation after the 2010-11 season. Cohen had to replace three of the program’s most prolific players (Sven Vloedgraven, Arnav Jain and Gilbert Wong) who combined for 292 career singles wins at the top of the lineup.
BU’s Division I NCAA History
2003 – Minneapolis Regional (lost to 11th-ranked Minnesota 4-0)
2004 – Oxford, Miss. Regional (lost to 8th-ranked Ole Miss 4-0)
2005 – Baton Rouge, La. Regional (lost to 10th-ranked LSU 4-0)
2008 – Tulsa, Okla. Regional (lost to 10th-ranked Tulsa 4-0)
2009 – College Station, Texas Regional (lost to 15th-ranked Texas A&M 4-0)
2010 – Lexington, Ky. Regional (lost to 24th-ranked Georgia Tech, 4-1)
2011 – Los Angeles Regional (lost to 12th-seeded UCLA 4-0)
2012 - Oxford, Miss. Regional (face 13th-seeded Ole Miss)