Men's Tennis to Host Blue Streaks as Quest for OAC Tournament Title Begins
ALLIANCE, Ohio—The Mount Union men's tennis team will host an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament match against John Carroll on Wednesday at 3:30 pm. The fourth-seeded Purple Raiders (13-7, 6-3 OAC) look to defeat the fifth-seeded Blue Streaks for the second time this season and advance to the final four at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
Scouting Mount Union
The Purple Raiders (13-7, 6-3 OAC) enter the OAC Tournament in the midst of a season-best four-match winning streak. Whitehill Tennis Courts and the Peterson Fieldhouse have been kind to the Raiders, who are 7-1 at home during the spring portion of their season. If the match is forced indoors by inclement weather, it will be moved to an off-campus location either in Canton or North Canton due to setup for commencement in Peterson Fieldhouse being underway.
The brother tandem of Nate Fockler and Nick Fockler (North Canton/Hoover) has a school-record 18 wins at first doubles this season. Nate, a junior, is under .500 for the first time in his collegiate career with just a 9-10 record at No. 1 singles. Two of those losses, however, came as the result of an injury that forced him to retire after the first set.
Only a freshman, Nick has already made his mark in the Mount Union record books. He earned a doubles victory with Ben Swope (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) while Nate was out with an injury and is in sole possession of the record for doubles wins with 19. He also has a team-best 16-4 record at No. 2 singles.
Swope, also a freshman, boasts a 13-6 record at No. 4 singles while sophomore Patrick Yackmack (Mantua/Crestwood) 11-9 at No. 3 singles.
Scouting John Carroll
The Blue Streaks (7-11, 5-4 OAC) find themselves in unfamiliar territory on the road to open the OAC Tournament. Last year, they were the tournament runner-up to Ohio Northern.
Junior Ryan Mullaney is the top singles player for the Blue Streaks with an 11-8 record at No. 1 singles and is 7-1 in OAC play. Mullaney and junior Rico Certo (5-1) form one of the top doubles teams in the conference and own a win over Baldwin-Wallace's Alexandre Bourdiaux and Alex Trzeciak, who are 19-2 on the seaso.
Sophomore Eric Grimaldi is tied for the team lead with 11 wins at No. 5/6 singles and is 7-3 over her last 10 matches. In doubles, senior Michael Hulseman and freshman Peter Scanniello lead the Blue Streaks with seven doubles wins.
Mount Union defeated John Carroll, 5-4, in their previous match this season. The Raiders took two of three doubles points before splitting the six singles for the victory. With the score tied, sophomore Jeff Looker (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) defeated Cass Stadnik at No. 6 singles in a thrilling 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) decision for match point.
Mount Union has won seven of its last ten meetings with John Carroll, including the last meeting in the OAC Tournament, which came in 2005.
2012 OAC Men's Tennis Tournament
The top eight teams during the OAC regular season qualify for the OAC Tournament with the top four seeds hosting first round matches. Baldwin-Wallace (25-0, 9-0 OAC) enters as top seed after claiming the regular season championship.
The OAC Tournament Final Four is played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, which is home to professional tennis' Western & Southern Open. The stat-of-the-art facility has 10 courts and a main center court that has been the site of numerous professional and amateur championship events.
Live stats for the Final Four will be provided online by tournament host Ohio Northern.