Men's Tennis Heads to First-Ever MVC Championships; Will Face So. Illinois in Friday Opener

Men's Tennis Heads to First-Ever MVC Championships; Will Face So. Illinois in Friday Opener

MVC Tournament Bracket

St. Louis, Mo.—UMBC men's tennis enters their first ever Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as they travel to Missouri to face Southern Illinois in the quarterfinals.  

 

Southern Illinois Game Day Info:

WHO: UMBC (11-5, 2-0 MVC) vs. Southern Illinois (6-15, 0-3 MVC)

WHEN: Friday, April 17- 4:00 PM ET

WHERE:  Westminster Christian Academy Tennis Courts- St. Louis, Mo.

SOCIAL MEDIA: @UMBCAthletics, @UMBCTennis, #TogetherWeCan

Scouting the Retrievers (11-5, 2-0 MVC):

UMBC is coming off a three-match winning streak, including a win in their only conference match of the season over Stony Brook. That victory placed UMBC as the No. 1 seed of the America East division of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament bracket.

The Retrievers are led by a trio of standout junior year players, starting with transfer Jaan Kononov, who has compiled a 9-4 singles record on the season playing exclusively in the No. 1 flight. Classmate Justin Carter finished the regular season with a 9-6 record competing in the top three flights, while Melker Svard completed the campaign with a 10-3 season playing in the Nos. 2 and 3 positions. The Retrievers' other regular starters all finished with impressive seasons as well with junior Alex Drean (9-6), junior Elliott Loubatie (8-4) and senior Daniel Gray (9-6) going into the postseason with winning records.

 

On the doubles side, the No. 1 flight duo of Drean and Gray look to continue their longstanding successful partnership. Kononov and Svard have teamed up all season mostly in the No. 2 flight this season, compiling a 10-4 record. In the No. 3 flight, Carter and Loubatie are the likely pairing with a 7-3 record when playing together.

 

Scouting the Salukis (6-15, 0-3 MVC):

Southern Illinois is going into the postseason on a three-match losing streak, having lost all of their conferences matches versus rivals Wichita State, Illinois State, and nationally-ranked Drake.

The Salukis are a top heavy team as their top two players have performed beautifully while the others have been less successful. Leading the charge is junior Jonny Rigby, who owns a 13-6 record in the No. 1 flight, followed closly by sophomore Michal Kianicka with a 13-5 record in the second flight. The Nos. 3-6 flights have combined for a 21-60 record throughout the season.

For their doubles teams, Kianicka and freshman Alex Pozo have dominated in the No. 1 flight with a 10-5 season. The No. 3 flight doubles has been productive this year for the Salukis, finishing at 11-8 on the year from a number of different pairings with Rigby and Szymon Opieczonek accounting for the majority of those wins.

Up Next:

If UMBC is able to pull out a win against Southern Illinois, the Retrievers' semi-final match will be played on Saturday, April 18th at 2:30 PM EDT versus the winner of No. 57 Wichita State and Hartford. No. 31 Drake has a bye into the semi-finals and will meet the Illinois State-Stony Brook winner.