Jan. 19, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The men's tennis team will play its first dual match of the 2012 season on Friday when it hosts Northwestern at 5 p.m. CT. In addition to it being the Crimson Tide's first match of the season, it will also be the first time the team will compete in its new indoor facility.
"Undoubtedly, this is an exciting time for tennis at the University of Alabama," said Alabama head coach Billy Pate. "There's always an excitement starting the first dual match of the spring, but this year it carries greater significance with the opening of our new indoor center. Both inside and out, it is a beautiful facility and will provide outstanding viewing opportunities for our fans. We encourage our supporters to attend Friday night to view the facility and provide a great home court advantage."
Alabama and Northwestern met in the 2010 season opener in Evanston, Ill., where the Wildcats came out with the 4-3 victory. Friday's match will be the ninth meeting all-time between the two schools. Northwestern currently leads the series 5-3, and has already played two matches this season, beating Ball State, 6-1, and Illinois-Chicago, 7-0.
"Northwestern has a very solid team top to bottom and presents a great challenge for the season opener," added Pate. "They have two matches under their belts, so we expect them to be battle-tested. We lost a heartbreaker to them two years ago in Evanston where we gave up a 3-1 lead and had triple match point to clinch it, so I know our guys are looking forward to getting on our new courts and playing well."
The Tide returns all but one player from last season and welcomes five newcomers to the squad. Among the returnees for Alabama are seniors Ricky Doverspike, Vikram Reddy and Michael Thompson, juniors Harris Barnard and Jarryd Botha and sophomores Daniil Proskura and Carlos Taborga. The Tide's freshman class includes Brian Conlon, Stuart Kenyon, Filippos Tsangaridis, Rens van der Vis and David Vieyra.
"I feel both teams have a blend of young, talented guys getting their first action along with older, experienced guys, who have been through a lot of matches," Pate said. "We expect a great match."
The indoor facility is adjacent to the outdoor courts at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. Admission is free.