Head coach Matt Knoll could surpass a coaching milestone as the 11th-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team serve as one of 15 sites for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend starting Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Hurd Tennis Center.
Baylor (2-0) will be one of four teams competing in Waco over the weekend. The top-seeded Bears will first face No. 4 seed UNLV at 2 p.m. Saturday. Prior to that match at 11 a.m., 20th-ranked and No. 2 seed Florida State faces third-seeded Purdue. The winners of those two matches advance to the following day’s championship match at 2 p.m., while the two losing teams will square off in a consolation match at 11 a.m. Sunday.
The winner of both matches over the weekend will advance to next month’s ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle, Wash.
Knoll is one win away from his 500th career win as a head coach, and a win on Saturday will improve his career record to 500-156 in 23 seasons as a head coach. Knoll is the 22-year head coach for the Bears after spending one season at Northern Iowa in 1994.
He would be the third Baylor head coach to reach 500 wins, joining head coaches Glenn Moore (softball) and Kim Mulkey (women’s basketball).
The Bears have competed in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in seven of the nine years of its existence, winning all 14 matches and advancing to the national event each year. BU will host the event for the sixth time in program history and has not served as the host on only one occasion (2017).
Baylor posted a pair of 7-0 victories to open its season Saturday in Waco, blanking UMKC to open the season 2-0. The Bears boast a pair of ranked singles players in No. 11 Johannes Schretter and 64th-ranked Bjoern Petersen and two doubles tandems in No. 2 Schretter and Will Little along with No. 40 Sven Lah and Roy Smith.
The UNLV Rebels open their 2018 season with Saturday’s matchup against BU and are coming off a 2017 campaign that saw them finish 19-9 overall and a runner-up in the Mountain West Tournament. The Bears will face the Rebels for the first time in program history.
20th-ranked Florida State is 8-0 on the year and has posted a 2-0 away record and 1-0 neutral site record. The Seminoles boast three ranked singles players in No. 22 Guy Iradukunda, No. 24 Lucas Poullain and No. 59 Alex Knaff. FSU has the 11th-ranked doubles team in the nation in Poullian and Jose Gracia.
The Bears are 3-1 all-time against the Seminoles, including 3-0 under Knoll. The Bears last met FSU in the 2016 NCAA First Round in Athens, Ga. where BU came out on top, 4-3.
Purdue (2-2) is coming off a home win over Detroit Mercy last weekend and posted a 20-13 overall record in 2017. The Boilermakers have one ranked doubles duo in Renan Hanayama and Ali Mooraj. BU is 6-0 all-time against Purdue, which included a 4-0 home win over the Boilermakers last season.
Following the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the Bears will have their first road match of the season with a clash against Ole Miss on Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. (CT) in Oxford, Miss.