Top-Seeded Phoenix Aims to Repeat as Horizon League Champion
By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. GreenBayPhoenix.com) – One year removed from winning the program’s first Horizon League tournament title and earning its first trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Green Bay men’s tennis team enters this weekend’s 2013 Horizon League Championship in Indianapolis as the No. 1 seed and the favorite to repeat as champion.
The top-seeded Phoenix, which claimed the program’s first regular-season conference crown this year with a perfect 6-0 league record, earned a bye to the semifinals and will play the winner of fourth-seeded Wright State and fifth-seeded UIC on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. CT at North Central High School. The championship game is slated for Sunday morning at 8 a.m. CT.
To view the full 2013 Horizon League Men’s Tennis Championship bracket, click here.
SCOUTING THE PHOENIX
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Mark Thomas, Green Bay finished its 2013 regular season with an impressive 16-6 overall record and enters the Horizon League Championship having won nine of its last 11 matches, including each of the last seven. The 16 wins are tied for the second-most in school history, behind only last season’s record-setting 19-win total.
In addition to its unblemished league record, the Phoenix is a perfect 5-0 in home matches and 5-1 in neutral-site contests in 2013. Four of the team’s six losses came to nationally-ranked opponents on the road (#43 Drake, #71 Purdue, #70 Wisconsin, and #72 Stetson).
Green Bay has benefitted from dominant singles play throughout the season, led by Horizon League Player of the Year candidate Michael Tenzer (Neuried, Germany). The sophomore, who was a first-team selection as a freshman in 2012, is 15-3 in singles competition, including 13-3 from the No. 1 spot. Tenzer owns a perfect 6-0 record against Horizon League opponents and is 9-1 in his last 10 contests.
Newcomers Howard Scott (Exeter, England) and Rowan Isaaks (London, England) also have perfect 6-0 league records at No. 5 and No. 6 singles, respectively, and senior Craig Cox (Surrey, England) is 5-1 at No. 3. In all, the Phoenix has a remarkable 31-5 singles record against conference opponents.
In doubles action, the senior duo of Cox and Erik Finkenbrink (Duelmen, Germany) lead the Phoenix from the No. 1 spot, holding a 12-7 overall record. Tenzer and freshman Joey Leto (Downers Grove, Ill.) have also been solid at No. 3 doubles, finishing the regular season 10-3.
Green Bay entered the year as the league’s unanimous favorite, picking up all six first-place votes in January’s Horizon League preseason poll. The Phoenix finished the 2012 campaign 19-7 overall and 6-1 in conference play, defeating four-time defending champion Cleveland State in the Horizon League title match before wrapping up its season with a hard-fought loss at No. 7 Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif., in the NCAA Tournament.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Green Bay defeated both of its potential semifinal opponents during the regular season, first knocking off UIC 6-1 in Chicago on March 30 before defeating Wright State 5-2 on April 13 at Western Racquet and Fitness Club. The No. 5 Flames enter the tournament with a 6-14 overall record and a 2-4 mark in the Horizon League, while the No. 4 Raiders – last season’s No. 1 seed – are 12-12 overall and 4-4 in league play.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX
Fans can follow the Phoenix at the 2013 Horizon League Championship in Indianapolis with continuing coverage on GreenBayPhoenix.com, the Horizon League Network and social media. Recaps, results, photos and videos will be on GreenBayPhoenix.com following each match, and live updates will be posted throughout the tournament on the team’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Sunday’s championship match will be streamed live on the Horizon League Network.
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