Men's Tennis hits road this weekend for MVC action against Creighton and No. 49 Drake

    Senior Stan Rodier is 6-6 at No. 2 singles this season.

    Senior Stan Rodier is 6-6 at No. 2 singles this season.
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    April 13, 2012

    By Tyler Wooten

    OMAHA, Neb. -- The Southern Illinois men's tennis team will hit the road this Saturday and Sunday for a Missouri Valley doubleheader at Creighton on Saturday and No. 49 Drake on Sunday.

    Locations: Omaha, Neb. (Creighton); Des Moines, Iowa (Drake)
    Sites: Koch Family Tennis Center (Creighton); Roger Knapp Tennis Center (Drake)
    First Serve: Saturday: 1 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m.

    Head Coaches
    Southern Illinois: Dann Nelson (Seventh year; 113-91 overall; 94-84 in Division I; 76-70 at SIU)
    Creighton: Tom Lilly (14th year)
    Drake: Evan Austin (Second year; 41-5 at Drake)

    Previously On...
    Southern Illinois:The Salukis (6-11, 0-1 MVC) defeated Eastern Illinois 5-2 in a non-conference matchup on April 11.
    Creighton: The Bluejays (9-7, 0-3 MVC) swept Nebraska-Omaha 7-0 on April 12.
    Drake: The 49th-ranked Bulldogs (20-2, 3-0 MVC) downed Illinois State 6-1 on April 7.

    Last Meeting
    Against Creighton: The Salukis bested the Bluejays 6-1 in 2011 in Carbondale. Leading the charge for the Salukis was MVC Freshman of the Year Jorge Cavero, who defeated 2011 MVC All-Conference player J.T. Christian 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 2 position. Current Salukis who also notched victories against the Bluejays last year include juniors Brandon Florez and Orhan Spahic.
    Against Drake: The Salukis were 0-2 last year against nationally-ranked Drake. In Carbondale on April 17, the Bulldogs defeated the Salukis 5-2, ceding two singles matches to the Salukis -- including one to Jorge Cavero at No. 2, where he downed current Bulldog James McKie 6-4, 6-0 to improve his winning streak to six matches at that point. In the semifinals of the MVC Team Championships, the Salukis and Bulldogs met again, with the Bulldogs coming out on top in a sweep, 4-0.



    Beat CR8N
    Under Dann Nelson, the Salukis are 6-1 against the Bluejays since 2006. The Bluejays lone victory against the Salukis in that time span came in the 2010 regular season (4-3), but the Salukis were able to avenge that loss in the conference tournament to once again advance to the MVC semifinals (4-3). The only matches between the Salukis and Bluejays where Creighton scored more than one point was in that 2010 season, where both matches resulted in a 4-3 final.

    2011: W, 6-1
    2010: L, 4-3; W, 4-3 (conference tournament, first round)
    2009: W, 7-0; W, 5-0 (conference tournament, first round)
    2008: W, 6-1
    2007: W, 6-1
    2006: W, 7-0

    Scouting the Bluejays
    Creighton is currently 9-7 overall and 0-3 in conference play. With their most recent victory over Nebraska-Omaha on April 12, Bluejays head coach Tom Lilly collected his 300th career win in men's and women's tennis combined. The Bluejays are led by Billy Paluch, who is 11-5 at the No. 1 singles position. Paluch has held the top spot all season, and he is 7-3 in his last ten contests. However, Creighton is 1-17 in MVC singles play -- the lone win belonging to Paluch who defeated Bradley's Ahmed Albitar.

    Scouting the Bulldogs
    No. 49 Drake (20-2, 3-0 MVC) has been utterly dominant this year in every area of the game, winning over 83 percent of its singles matches (105-21; 17-1 MVC) and over 73 percent of its doubles contests (44-16; 8-1 MVC). The Bulldogs are a perfect 11-0 at home and have been ranked in every poll this season with an average ranking of 54.1. Drake has also faced some stiff competition. The Bulldogs are 3-2 versus nationally ranked opponents, who collectively hold an average ranking of 58.2.

    Drake is led in singles by Anis Ghorbel and James McKie, who combined are 21-5 at the top two positions. McKie -- who is 16-1 in singles this dual match season -- is on a 15 match winning streak. Jonathan Hadash is a perfect 9-0 this dual match season and he also has a winning streak of 13 dating back to the fall season.

    Stan the Man
    Senior Stanislas Rodier has caught fire as of late in singles, and his work with Brandon Florez at the No. 1 doubles spot gives the Salukis a solid attack at the top position. Rodier is 5-4 in his last nine matches and has evened out to 6-6 at his normal position at No. 2 singles.

    Rodier and Florez are now 2-2 at the No. 1 doubles spot, and nearly pulled off an upset at the top position against highly-talented Wichita State last weekend. The ultimate difference was two points in the tiebreak against WSU's David Cavalcanti and Matheus Pereira.

    Rodier and Florez were down 7-5 against Cavalcanti and Pereira -- who were nationally ranked earlier this season and are now 12-3 this dual match season -- before storming back, taking the next three games to force a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, however, WSU got off to an early lead and was able to hold off a Saluki charge at the end and take the doubles point, 9-8 (5).