After extending “The Streak” to 79 consecutive seasons, this year’s Hornets’ Men’s Tennis team is preparing for their next challenge, the NCAA Tournament.
Led by last year’s Individual National Runner Up Branden Metzler, Kalamazoo finished the season with an 18-1 record, including 7-0 in conference, and are currently ranked #26 nationally and #4 in the Central Region (ITA). Metzler is ranked #2 for singles in the Central Region.
The Hornets will travel to Washington University at Saint Louis where they will begin the tournament facing off against Kenyon College. The two teams met earlier this season in Kalamazoo where the Hornets came away with a 6-3 victory. Kenyon finished the season 13-10, ranked #28 nationally, and #6 in the Central Region. The hosts of the regional finished the season #4 nationally, and #1 in the region. The other two teams in the region, Wheaton College and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished the year ranked #12 and #15 in the region respectively. The Hornets also faced Wheaton in their first match of the season, winning in a decisive 9-0 fashion.
Metzler and the rest of the senior class will look to finish their careers on a high note, having reached the NCAA tournament in all four seasons, but having yet to make it past the first weekend. Receiving a first round bye, the Hornets will only need two victories to make it past the regional stage, first over Kenyon, and then likely over the hosts Washington University of Saint Louis. Facing tough opponents is nothing new for this year’s team, who faced a number of nationally and regionally ranked teams during non-conference play, winning all but one of those matches.
The Hornets will take the court at 3:00 p.m. this Friday in Saint Louis to begin their tournament run.