Men's tennis team earns trip to NCAA tournament
May 4, 2001
KALAMAZOO -- The WMU men's tennis team (14-10 overall record) will face No. 19-ranked Pepperdine (17-7) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The match will be played on Friday, May 11, beginning at 11 a.m. in Terre Haute, Ind., home of first-round host Indiana State.
The winner of the WMU versus Pepperdine match will take on the winner of the May 11 match between Indiana and Indiana State. The second round match will be played on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 11 a.m.
WMU earned its second appearance of the past three seasons in the NCAA tournament with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Ball State in the finals of the Mid-American Conference tournament.
Ball State won the 2001 MAC championship by virtue of having the best regular season record and was seeded No. 1 in the conference tournament. The winning team in the MAC tournament earns the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Seeded No. 2 in the MAC tournament, WMU won marathon matches -- each taking more than four hours to complete -- with a 4-3 win over Bowling Green in the semi-finals (April 27) and the 4-3 victory over Ball State in the finals (April 28).
WMU also appeared in the NCAA tournament in 1999, falling in the first round in straight sets to nationally ranked No. 1 UCLA in a match played in Los Angeles.
Western Michigan and Ball State have now faced each other four straight seasons in the Mid-American Conference tournament final. Ball State won in 1998 and 2000. WMU won in 1999 and 2001.
Four Broncos earn conference honors
Four members of the Bronco men's tennis team earned All-MAC honors for the 2001 season. Senior Fernando Garcia (Cali, Columbia) was named to the all-conference first team and was selected as the conference's player of the year. Freshman Ravishankar Pathanjali (Tamilnadu, India), senior Steve Pillon (Port Huron, Mich.) , and senior Ryan Tomlinson (Three Rivers, Mich) all earned second team status. Pathanjali was also named "Newcomer of the Year" in the MAC.
Garcia played No. 1 singles for the Broncos most of the season. He earned his 40th win overall of the year in the MAC Final. Garcia finished the regular season with a 22-16 singles mark and an 18-13 doubles record. He won the No. 1 match in the MAC tournament championship match over Jason Pressel of Ball State 3-6, 7-6, 6-1. This is the third consecutive season that Garcia has earned first team All-MAC honors. He is currently tied for 10th on WMU's all-time wins list (155).
Pathanjali has had a memorable rookie season for the Broncos. He had a 17 match singles winning streak. His last win, the 30th for him on the season in singles, gave the Broncos the MAC tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. He is currently 30-10 in singles and 24-12 in doubles this year for a 54-22 overall mark.
Pillon earned his second straight second team all-MAC season for WMU this season. He played 10 matches each at the No. 1 and the No. 2 positions in the singles lineup. He is currently 42-38 overall this season in singles and doubles. That mark included a 10-1 mark with Pathanjali at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Pillon ranks No. 7 on the Broncos all-time wins list.
Tomlinson also is on the second team all-MAC for the second straight season. He has a 41-40 overall mark in singles and doubles for WMU this season. He played 18 matches in the No. 3 slot for singles, and all but one of his 23 doubles matches in the No. 1 slot. He is currently No. 6 on WMU's all-time wins list for his career (179).