LAS CRUCES, N.M. – UMKC men's tennis (12-8, 3-2) begins the Western Athletic Conference Championship with a semifinal matchup against UT Rio Grande Valley (5-20, 2-3) at 2 p.m. CT Saturday at the NM State Tennis Center. The Roos have earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, which includes a first round bye.
Previously, UMKC defeated UTRGV 4-3 on March 24 at the GCU Tennis Center. The Roos and Vaqueros split three singles matches in that contest with the doubles point making the difference for UMKC.
UMKC has won four consecutive matches, including the last two in perfect 7-0 fashion over Saint Louis on April 20 and at Oral Roberts on April 18. Prior to that, the Roos won 5-2 over Creighton on April 11 and vs. Chicago State on April 9 in the WAC regular season finale.
Standout junior Airam Castellano (Gran Canaria, Spain) leads UMKC with a 14-6 singles record during his junior season. He has won four straight and is 8-2 in his last 10 contests. Against SLU on April 20, Castellano became the first Roos player ever to earn his 60th singles victory.
In No. 1 doubles, Castellano and Mike Psarros (Athens, Greece) improved to 12-1 on the season against SLU. The tandem has won nine consecutive matches. Psarros has 63 career doubles victories, which is a program record. He ranks second in school history with 57 career singles wins, including a 10-4 mark at No. 5 singles this spring.
Uldis Gaismins (Riga, Latvia) ranks second in team history with 56 doubles wins and third with 51 singles victories. He is 10-10 in singles action this season.
Freshman Tom Kruse (Flensburg, Germany) is 11-8 in singles action, including a 2-0 mark at the No. 3 slot. He is 9-8 while competing at No. 4. Senior Vinh Pham (Lenexa, Kan.) is 8-8 in singles action, including a 7-4 mark at the No. 6 position. He and Kruse have teamed up to go 6-4 in No. 3 doubles.
Last year, UMKC fell 4-3 to New Mexico State in the finals of the WAC Championship. The Aggies are again the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
– UMKC –