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Men's tennis geared for ITA Kick-off

Jan. 29, 2010

Daniel Cernero | Lariat staff
Kerville junior Jordan Rux returns a serve Sunday against the University of Florida. The No. 6-ranked Bears knocked of the No. 11-ranked Florida Gators 5-2 to improve to 2-0 this season, and will welcome three teams Saturday and Sunday for the ITA Kick-off Weekend.

By Jeremy Joseph

The Baylor men's tennis team started its season 2-0, and it looks to improve its record this weekend during the ITA National Men's Team Indoors Qualifier at the Baylor Tennis Center.

The Bears open up the qualifier playing the No. 58 University of Iowa at 1 p.m. Saturday. The team will take on either No. 38-ranked TCU or No. 66-ranked Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Winning the matches would put Baylor into a bracket of 16 of the nation's top teams. The ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship will take place Feb. 12-15 at the Boar's Head Sports Club, played host by the University of Virginia.

"It's not a big deal to make it there; it's to do well and take care of our business," senior Denes Lukacs said. "We've been there every year, and we're looking to play our best tennis in May."

The Bears, led by Lukacs and junior Jordan Rux, look to stay on track after a two-match stretch versus the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 11-ranked Florida.

Baylor swept Louisiana-Lafayette by a 7-0 decision. Then, two days later, the Bears gained revenge from last year as it beat Florida 5-2. Rux clinched the match by beating Bob Van Overbeek 7-5, 6-2.

"I think it was good for us to play a top-notch team like Florida just to get confidence," Rux said. "We struggled a bit last year after getting beat by them, so I think it was for the greater good to get our confidence up early so that we can carry it throughout the whole season.

"If we have a good season, it will put us in a better position for the NCAAs."

Head coach Matt Knoll echoed Rux's beliefs.

"We want to build some momentum early, and we definitely have that," Knoll said. "These guys aren't rookies. That gives us a foundation to help us hopefully be a special team at the end."