Men’s tennis preview: ITA Kickoff Weekend – GoBlueRaiders.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Middle Tennessee men’s tennis team will play in the ITA Kickoff Weekend on Friday and Saturday inside the new Ty Tucker Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio.

The Blue Raiders will take on No. 3 Ohio State at 10 a.m. CT Friday, while Iowa and Virginia will clash at 1 p.m. CT. The winners and losers will play on Saturday with the championship match set for approximately 2:30 p.m. CT.
 
Match 2-3: Middle Tennessee (1-0, 0-0 C-USA) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (0-0, 0-0 B10)
» Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 – 10 a.m. CST
» Ty Tucker Tennis Center – Columbus, OH.
 
About the Blue Raiders
» Middle Tennessee swept singles play against Louisiana on its way to a rousing 6-1 win in the season opener.
» In singles, Pavel MotlStijn SlumpChris Edge and Francisco Rocha earned straight-set victories in quick succession to clinch the match at 4-1.
» The Blue Raiders last attended an ITA Kickoff Weekend in 2019 hosted by UNC, where they played Duke and Utah.
» Eight players return from the 2020 roster, and  MT also welcomed graduate transfer Oskar Michalek (Troy) and freshman Andreas Kramer.
» Oskar Michalek is ranked No. 102 in the ITA’s top-125 singles rankings.
 
All-Time vs. No. 3 Ohio State
» Middle Tennessee and Ohio State have only met once, in 1973 (no score was recorded).
 
Scouting the Buckeyes
» The Buckeyes enter the weekend ranked third in the country, and they are coming off the OSU Invitational last weekend. The Buckeyes won a total of 35 matches in singles and doubles against Michigan and Illinois.
» Sophomore Cannon Kingsley is ranked No. 5 in the national singles rankings. Senior John McNally is ranked No. 11, while senior Kyle Seelig is No. 25 and sophomore James Trotter is ranked No. 80.
» The Buckeyes have three doubles teams in the national rankings, led by McNally and Robert Cash at No. 4. James Trotter and fellow sophomore Justin Boulais are ranked No. 37, and Kingsley and Seelig are ranked No. 51.
 
All-Time vs. No. 22 Virginia
» Middle Tennessee and Virginia have only met twice, with the most recent being in 2000. Virginia defeated the Blue Raiders 3-0 in a neutral site match.
 
Scouting the Cavaliers
» Virginia opened the season with a 7-0 sweep of Liberty. UVA won the doubles point and took a 6-0 lead with straight-set victories.
» Virginia is ranked No. 22 in the preseason ITA team rankings.
» Carl Söderlund is ranked No. 29 in singles. He opened the season with a 6-3, 6-3 win.

 All-Time vs. Iowa
» The Hawkeyes lead the series 2-2, the most recent meeting occurring last year with Iowa taking a 4-2 win in Iowa City.
» MT’s last win came in 2016.
 
Scouting the Hawkeyes
» Iowa, a veteran squad featuring seven upperclassmen and three freshmen, will make its third appearance in the premier event in four seasons. The Hawkeyes are 1-3 in ITA Kickoff matches, with its victory coming at Texas Tech (4-3) in 2017.
» Kareem Allaf is ranked a career-best No. 39 in singles, while the doubles team of Oliver Okonkwo and Will Davies is ranked No. 17 nationally.

Visit www.GoBlueRaiders.com for the latest news and information on the Middle Tennessee men’s tennis program. Fans are also encouraged to follow the program on its social media outlets at www.facebook.com/MTSUMensTennis and @MT_MensTennis on Twitter and @MT_MensTennis on Instagram.

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