The men's tennis team captured the 2013 Crossroads League Tournament Title and will now head to Mobile, Ala., in May.
NAIA National Tournament Information
When: May 13-17
Location: Mobile Tennis Center | Mobile, Ala.
63rd NAIA National Championship
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The Knights started the 2013 season with the slogan "It's Our Time, It's Knight Time" and the beginning of MU's campaign showed that the men had bought into the motto of head coach Steve Mackell. The Knights reeled off six straight wins to begin the season and won 48 of their first 54 matches. The six matches that the Knights fell in where split evenly between doubles and singles, with their closest contest coming against Goshen, 7-2. The Knights left this portion of their schedule with a 5-0 record in the Crossroads League. MU's 5-0 start in league play was the best five match start to a league season since 2007 when the Knights started 4-1 in league play.
The Knights entered their seventh match on a six match winning streak, which ended up being the end of one streak and the beginning of a new one. The Knights, during this time, dropped four straight contests, all of which were on the road. It started at DePauw and then onto Huntington, Indiana Wesleyan and Grace. This was by far, MU's toughest stretch with all four losses coming in close contests. DePauw is a NCAA DIII power, while Grace, Huntington and Indiana Wesleyan ended the season in the top three of the Crossroads League, respectively.
The Knights entered the end of their season, the Crossroads League Tournament, on a four match slide. MU's first match against Goshen was a 6-3 victory at the MU Tennis Courts, but more importantly, it was an intense match that reenergized the Knights and prepared them for their run to the tournament title. The Knights' semifinal match pitted them against the top-seeded Lancers, who beat MU 6-3 before the start of the tournament. The Knights refused to let history repeat itself and upset the top seed, 5-3, to propel themselves into the championship match with No. 2 Huntington. The Knights were now just one match away from securing the tournament title and earning a berth in the NAIA National Tournament. The Knights then pulled their second consecutive upset and downed second-seeded Huntington for the tournament title.
THE WINTER SEASON
Coming this January and February, coach Mackell has lined up a strong winter schedule for the Knights. MU will first get back on the courts in Indianapolis against NCAA DI, IUPUI. That match is schedule for January 17 at the West Indy Racquet Club. MU's second match in January will be at the University of Indianapolis on January 31. After January, the Knights will then play two more matches in February before gearing up for the spring season and, eventually, the NAIA National Tournament. The Knights will travel to Tennessee Wesleyan on February 1 and then head to another NCAA DI institution in Valparaiso on February 8.
THE SPRING SEASON
The Knights will start their spring season in the sunshine state, where they will enjoy the warm weather of Florida from May 9-14. The annual spring break trip allows MU to get on the courts early in the spring and will serve as another good warm-up for the NAIA National Tournament. Last season, the Knights went 4-0 in Florida and will look to repeat that success in 2014. After Florida, the Knights will return home to play three road matches against Cornerstone (March21), Davenport (March 22) and Olivet Nazarene (March 25). The Knights will then host two home matches at the MU Tennis Courts before heading to the national tournament. On March 28, MU will host Saint Francis (Ill.) and then on April 15 they will host Indiana Tech.