Broncos Prep For NCAA Tournament Match at Illinois
NCAA Tournament - Round 1
Western Michigan Broncos (17-11) at Illinois Fighting Illini (14-7)
Friday, May 11 | 4 p.m. ET | Urbana, Ill.
The Western Michigan men's tennis team will play in its ninth NCAA Tournament in program history, and ninth under head coach Dave Morin, when the Broncos (17-11) take on the 16th-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Urbana, Ill. The Illini enter the match with a record of 14-7 overall, and is buoyed by an underdog run in the Big Ten tournament that saw Illinois upend the top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes.
This will be the 14th meeting between the Broncos and the Illini, and the fourth time the teams have met in the NCAA tournament. Illinois holds an 11-2 advantage in the all-time series against the Broncos, including a 3-0 advantage in NCAA Tournament matches.
BRONCOS VS. THE BIG TEN
The Broncos definitely held their own in their matches against Big Ten opponents this season; while they compiled just a 1-4 record against Big Ten foes this year, they battled in each match and came close in several. The win came against Iowa on February 19, when the Broncos downed the Hawkeyes 5-2 at West Hills Athletic Club. The best road effort for the Broncos came against Northwestern; Nadin Indre and Ross VanderPloeg each notched singles wins, and Aaron Wong pushed his opponent to a tiebreaker in the third set as the Broncos just narrowly lost 5-2.
INDRE'S HARDWARE HAUL
Nadin Indre has brought home an impressive number of honors in just his first season as a member of the Broncos; most notably, Indre was named the MAC Player of the Year, as well as the MAC Tournament's Most Outstanding Player. In addition to the conference's honors, Indre was voted the Team MVP by his teammates at the conclusion of the tournament.
OLIVAREZ CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Senior Pablo Olivarez currently sits at 178 combined singles and doubles wins, which ranks 13th for a career at Western Michigan, a mark that is tied with Ryan Tomlinson. Most recently, Olivarez passed former teammate Kazuya Komada, who finished his career with 175 victories. Olivarez had the honor of clinching the MAC Tournament championship for the Broncos against Buffalo, downing Wojciech Starakiewicz in straight sets at No. 3 singles.
Coincidentally enough, Olivarez received the conference's 2012 Jack Vredevelt Sportsmanship Award, an award which Komada claimed in 2011.
Z DOWN THE STRETCH
Senior Zeyad Montasser is nearing the end of a collegiate tennis career that has seen him contribute to three MAC Tournament championships and two regular season titles, and his play down the stretch in 2012 has provided a spark for the Broncos entering the NCAA Tournament. Montasser enters the tournament on a seven-match singles win streak, including a 3-0 record at No. 2 singles after moving there late in the season.
Montasser has formed an effective doubles pairing with Nadin Indre, as well; the duo won their matches in both the semifinal and final of the MAC Tournament.
The Western Michigan men's tennis program is no stranger to success in the MAC Tournament, having won the event on a fairly regular basis since head coach Dave Morin took the reins of the program. In the 16 tournaments under Morin, the Broncos have won nine MAC Tournament titles, averaging a win every two years. The Broncos have won a total of 16 conference titles of Morin when his seven regular season titles are included.