May 8, 2006
Bearcat Tennis Teams Rev Up For Nationals May 10-13 in Kansas City
MARYVILLE, Mo. -- (PDF) The Northwest Missouri State men's and women's tennis teams head to the 2006 NCAA Division II National Championships in Kansas City, Mo. In the round of 16, both Northwest clubs will face Drury (Mo.) University, winners of the Great Lakes Region, on Wednesday, May 10. It is a single-elimination event as the Tournament runs through Saturday, May 13. The main courts are located at the Plaza in downtown Kansas City with the other site being the Homestead courts. The official website of the National Championships can be viewed at http://www.rockhurst.edu/ru_athletics/news/NCAAtennis.asp.
The women (20-3) face No. 24 Drury at 10:30 a.m. while the men (13-9) face the top-ranked Panthers (24-0) at 1:30 p.m. with both matches at the Plaza. The men dropped a 5-1 match to Drury on March 11 while the women were on the short end of a 7-2 match on April 28.
"It is going to be a challenge for us," said head coach Mark Rosewell, who is in his 22nd season as both the men's and women's coach. "We played Drury already this year and Jarrod Smith (Drury's head women's coach) knows us because he was my assistant last year. We will have to get them in doubles because their singles are pretty good."
The men's squad advanced for the first time to Nationals since 2003 thanks to a 5-2 upset of No. 1 seed Washburn in the North Central Region Championships (May 6). The Bearcats were the No. 3 seed as an at-large bid after losing in the conference championship to Washburn 5-1 on April 23. Three players boast 2006 First Team All-MIAA status in singles action, sophomore Lucas Ariboni at No. 5, junior Chris Smith at No. 3 and lone senior Zach Keith at No. 6. Junior Pablo Acebedo, who was the 2004 MIAA Freshman of the Year, holds the most wins on the team at 14-6 in singles while Keith is 12-1 overall. The Bearcats are entering the Tournament on a hot streak having won four of their last five matches after having dropped four of six.
For the women, they are making Nationals for the fourth straight season. Overall, they have been to 12 straight NCAA postseason tournaments (including regionals). Northwest had to come from behind against Emporia State on Friday (May 5) at the North Central Region Championships to steal a 5-4 victory. Down 4-2, the bottom three Northwest singles players won and handed the club another postseason appearance. Two time MIAA MVP and Sportsmanship Award winner, senior Gena Lindsay leads the 35th-ranked Bearcats. Lindsay had her 29-match winning streak (dating back to 2005) snapped with her No. 1 singles loss to Drury's Alejandra Miranda-Sanchez on April 28. Lindsay, who posts a 19-1 mark in singles play, teams with doubles partner senior Erica Ramirez at No. 1 doubles to go 15-7 on the year. Gena's younger sister, freshman Emily, stands a perfect 17-0 at the singles position. Emily was named to the First Team All-MIAA (6S) while freshman Jordan Lipira was honored as the MIAA Co-Freshman of the Year.
The Drury men, undefeated at 24-0 and No. 1 in the country, own the top-ranked No. 1 singles player in Matias Odonne. Ranked No. 24 in the country, the Drury women stand 22-4 on the year and will be at their first National Tournament. The women's club is coached by former Northwest assistant Jarrod Smith.
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