The Kansas City men's tennis team travels to Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday to face the Wisconsin Badgers, followed by a Sunday contest against Southern Illinois. The 'Roos open the spring season with the matches.
The Badgers open their season with the Salukis of Southern Illinois before facing UMKC later in the day at 3:00 p.m. They went 12-12 last season. Freshman Oscar Wikberg enters the weekend as the leader in wins at 11-2, all coming in the fall. UMKC has never faced Wisconsin.
vs. Southern Illinois
The Salukis will be opening their dual season as well on Saturday, but posted a 9-13 overall mark a year ago. They lost their top two players from last season, but return No. 3 and No. 4 players Brandon Florez and Orhan Spahic. Kansas City is 1-0 vs. SIU, winning by a 4-0 score on February 6, 2010.
WHO IS COMPETING
Kansas City is sending Tim Akhmedov, David Heckler, Jai Grewal, Conner Edwards, Daniil Ivanov, Tomas Patino, and Nino Hasandedic to compete in this weekend's tournament.
This season's team captains are seniors Grant Fleming and Nino Hasandedic, as well as junior Tomas Patino.
SUMMIT LEAGUE FAVORITES
The Kansas City's men's and women's teams are the favorites to claim the 2013 Summit League Tennis Championships according to a preseason poll of league head coaches.
The Kangaroo men seek their third consecutive Summit League Men's Tournament Championship.
The Kansas City sweep marks the first time since 2009 that the same school was picked as both the men's and women's tennis favorite.
Kansas City received all four possible first-place votes for a total of 24 points. IUPUI, which received the remaining first-place vote, finished second with 21 points.
The Kangaroos return four all-league performers, led by 2012 Player of the Year Grant Fleming, 2012 Newcomer of the Year Tomas Patino, 2011 Player of the Year Nino Hasandedic, and an all-league pick in Abdul Alawadhi.
The 'Roos finished last season winning 9 of their last 11 matches, with their only losses coming to Bradley by a 4-3 score, and Big 12 Champion Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament.
'ROOS IN THE NCAAS
Last season was UMKC's fifth appearance overall and the second straight in the NCAA Tournament, falling to USC (1999), UCLA (2000), Baylor (2009), Texas (2011) and Oklahoma (2012).
HEAD COACH KENDELL HALE
Kendell Hale is in his fifth season as the head coach of the UMKC men's tennis program. Overall, the 2012-13 season is Hale's 19th as a collegiate head coach, and compiled a 340-242 overall combined record coming into 2012-13. He has a current 63-46 mark with the men. Hale has coached 19 all-league selections and has taken the 'Roos to three regular season titles, three tournament crowns, and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
In 2012, the squad overcame numerous injuries early in the season and captured a share of its third consecutive regular season Summit League title, while hosting the conference tournament and storming through the bracket without dropping a point in wins over South Dakota State and IUPUI to claim the league tournament crown and advance to the NCAA Tournament. UMKC had four all-conference selections, as well as the Player (Grant Fleming) and Newcomer (Tomas Patino) of the Year in the league.
Before joining the UMKC coaching staff, Hale spent 11 years as the head coach at Rockhurst University, where he led the Hawks to nine NCAA Tournament appearances.