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Tennis team MVC champs

Drake men’s tennis team recognized for outstanding season after competing in NCAA tourney

The Drake men’s tennis team wrapped-up the 2010-2011 season at the NCAA Tennis Tournament, held in May at the University of Illinois’ Khan Tennis Center. The Bulldogs were pitted against the 17th-rated Fighting Illini.

“I thought we competed very well today against a talented Illinois team,” said Evan Austin, head men’s tennis coach. “I’m really proud of Drake’s team and the way they fought and competed all year long, and I’m looking forward to continuing to build upon this year’s success.”

Mauricio Ballivian

Mauricio Ballivian, who graduated from Drake in May, and Anis Ghorbel, a junior international business major from Sfax, Tunisia, broke open a two-all tie with five unanswered tallies to assume a 7-2 lead. The triumph allowed Ballivian, who is originally from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to earn fourth place on the all-time victory list at Drake with 194 career wins.

The competition was the final one in the distinguished career of Ballivian, who led Drake to a trio of Missouri Valley Conference regular season titles and a pair of NCAA Tournament berths.

“Mauricio has been such an incredible leader and representative of our team and university, and it has been great to see him reach so many of his goals during his distinguished Drake career,” Austin said.

The tournament concluded Drake’s season at 21-3 and represented the team’s fifth NCAA Tournament berth in school history.

On May 31, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) placed the Bulldogs at 62nd in the final ITA national rankings, recognizing the team’s outstanding season.

“It is great to see all the hard work we put in this year culminate with a national ranking in the final ITA poll of the year,” Austin said. “This group has come a long way in my first season here and I’m excited about the solid core we have returning in the fall. We plan on continuing to raise the bar for this program and know that hard work, dedication and attention to detail will be keys in the offseason to achieving this.”