BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's tennis team will close out the regular season with a pair of important Mid-American Conference matches on Friday and Sunday as seedings for the upcoming conference championships are up for grabs.
The Bulls (9-7, 1-2 MAC) finish the 2011 regular season with home matches against the Ball State Cardinals on Good Friday and the Northern Illinois Huskies on Easter Sunday. Both matches are slated for 1:00 pm starts. Depending on the weather conditions each day, a decision will be made as to whether the matches will be played outdoors at UB's University Tennis Center or at the indoor facility at the Miller Tennis Center.
With two matches remaining in the regular season, the Bulls stand in fourth place among the six MAC tennis schools. UB is a half-game behind Ball State (12-13, 2-2 MAC) for third place and a half-game ahead of fifth-place Northern Illinois (11-14, 1-3 MAC). UB can finish no higher than third place and no lower than fifth when the conference tournaments begins next Thursday in Kalamazoo, MI. A third-place regular season finish for the Bulls would put them in a first round match with Chicago State (0-17, 0-4 MAC). If the Bulls finish in fourth or fifth place, they would again face either the Cardinals or Huskies in the opening round.
The Bulls have won their last three matches and four of the last five. Individually, Vusa Hove leads the team with 18 singles victories this year and will be going for 20 this weekend from his number two slot in the lineup. Alex Kalinin is 14-10 in singles play this season while Wojciech Starakiewicz, UB's first singles player, is 13-9. Jason Simon, who joined the Bulls in January is 9-3 with a five-match winning streak in singles competition.
Prior to Sunday's match, UB will honor seniors Marcelo Mazzetto and Mitch Zenaty. In his four seasons with the program, Mazzetto, a two-time All-MAC Second Team honoree, has collected 57 singles wins, tied for fifth-best all-time with Kirill Kolomyts (2007-10). Gaining his 50th doubles win last week against St. Bonaventure, Mazzetto is also tied with Yules Hadisubroto (2003-07) for fifth on that list. Zenaty, who came to Buffalo after one season at Bloomsburg, moved into the top 10 on the doubles chart last week with his 41st triumph, tying Fery Kasiman (1999-03) and one behind ninth-place Octavian Stane (2005-09).
"We have a good bit of momentum going into the matches this upcoming weekend. We are a different team than we were a month ago, and we look forward to facing two good MAC teams on our home courts," said head coach Lee Nickell. "We are also looking forward to celebrating the great careers of Marcelo Mazzetto and Mitch Zenaty who have meant so much to the program."