February 16, 2009

Men's Tennis Hosts Tennessee Tech, Toledo This Weekend

Feb. 16, 2009

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Setting The Scene: A busy week lies ahead for the Butler men's team, as it will take part in three matches in a six-day span. After opening up the week at Xavier on Tuesday (Feb. 17) at 1:00 p.m., the Bulldogs return to Indianapolis to host Tennessee Tech on Saturday (Feb. 21) at 10:00 a.m. and Toledo on Sunday (Feb. 22) at 10:00 a.m. The women's team, meanwhile, will not see action again until Feb. 27 when it battles Bowling Green.

Bulldogs Sweep Past Flyers: Butler rolled to three wins in doubles competition before tallying six straight-set victories in singles play to pick up its second-straight 7-0 decision with a sweep of visiting Dayton on Feb. 10 evening. The No. 1 doubles tandem of Stephen McLoughlin and Bryce Warren got things going with an 8-5 win before Chris Herron and Ben Raynauld at No. 2 and David Dollins and Ben Shafer at No. 3 each scored 8-6 triumphs. The dominance continued in the singles competition, as all six Butler players notched straight-set wins. Raynauld scored a convincing 6-4, 6-1 decision at the No. 1 position, while McLoughlin (6-2, 6-2) and Lenz Theodor (6-3, 6-2) added swift victories at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. Zach Ervin held on for a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 4, while Brandon Bayliss fought off a tough competitor at No. 3 for a 7-5, 7-5 triumph. After battling through a hard fought 7-6 (7-0) win in the opening set of the No. 2 bout, Warren cruised to a dominant 6-1 second-set decision to close out the match.

Home Cooking: The Butler women's team will feel right at home this season, as 14 of its 22 dual meets this spring will be played on their home court. In fact, the Bulldogs will only have to travel out of the state for six of their bouts all season.

Road Trip: The men's team won't have the same hospitality that the women do this spring season. Quite the opposite, really. The Bulldogs will play 14 of their 22 matches away from Indianapolis, including all but two of their Horizon League regular season contests. The good news for the men's team? The worst part is already over, as nearly half of the remaining meets will be played at home (six of the final 14).

Youth Movement: Both the Butler men's and women's teams head into the spring campaign without a single senior member on their rosters. The men's squad features two juniors, five sophomores (including a first-year Butler player) and two freshmen, while the women's team boasts three juniors, two sophomores and five rookies. The one thing neither team is short on is talent, however. Among the 11 returning players are four All-Horizon League Team members from a season ago, including men's players Brandon Bayliss and Ben Raynauld and women's players Molly Casperson and Natali Jaimes.

Head Coach Jason Suscha: Jason Suscha, in his 12th season as the head coach of the Butler men's tennis team and 10th year at the helm of the women's squad, continues to reign supreme in the world of Horizon League tennis. The five-time Horizon League Men's Tennis Coach of the Year boasts a 172-110 overall record at Butler, including an astounding 70-3 mark against conference foes. Suscha has also consistently positioned the Butler women's squad near the top of the Horizon League. Under his guidance, the Bulldogs have combined for a 116-105 record, including a dominant 66-21 mark in league play, and have advanced to the tournament championship match in eight of his nine seasons.

Next Up: The season hits a slow stretch next week, as both the women's and men's teams play just one dual match each. The women will head to Bowling Green on Feb. 27 for a 6:30 match, while the men head to Bloomington, Ind., on March 1 for a 4:30 p.m. contest with the Hoosiers.