BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- In what will be the 64th all-time meeting between the two programs, the WKU men's tennis team will travel to Murray, Ky., on Saturday to face former Ohio Valley Conference rival, Murray State at 9:00 a.m. (CT) from the Kenlake Tennis Center.
The Racers and the Hilltoppers have met in four consecutive seasons, including a matchup on February 13 last season. Murray State has won five consecutive matches over WKU, including a 5-2 win in Bowling Green in 2011. The Hilltoppers last played on the road against the Racers in 2010, with Murray State holding on for a 4-3 win. WKU has not won in Murray since the regular season finale in 1974.
Arul Selvan and Lance Freeman each picked up singles wins against the Racers last season, while Craig Kirchgessner and Kaleb Ball picked up a win in doubles play. Freeman is 2-0 for his career in singles play against Murray State.
WKU (0-3) will be looking to avoid its first 0-4 start since the 2003 season when the Hilltoppers started 0-5. Murray State enters Saturday's match winless as well, as the Racers sit at 0-4 on the season, including an 0-2 mark at home.
Nine different Hilltoppers have seen action in either doubles or singles play in 2012, with five of those players being freshmen or sophomores. WKU has seen a freshman or a sophomore start at the No. 1 singles and doubles spot in each of the first three matches in 2012.
WKU's match with Murray State will mark the end of four consecutive road matches to open the 2012 season for the Hilltoppers. WKU will host SIU-Edwardsville on March 2 in Bowling Green. The Lady Toppers will enjoy a weekend off before the match with SIU-Edwardsville.
Match notes for Saturday's match are available online at www.wkusports.com.
WKU vs. Murray State News and Notes
- WKU and Murray State will meet for the 64th time in the two programs' histories and for the fourth consecutive year. The first recorded match between the Hilltoppers and the Racers came back in 1940.
- WKU has lost five-straight to Murray State and hasn't defeated the Racers since the 2000 season. Head Coach Jeff True has never won on the road at Murray State. The last Hilltopper win in Murray came in 1974 in the regular season finale.
- WKU and Murray State met in the fourth match of the 2011 season in Bowling Green, with the Racers picking up a 5-2 win over the Hilltoppers. Arul Selvan and Lance Freeman were the only Hilltoppers to pick up singles wins, while the doubles tandem of Craig Kirchgessner and Kaleb Ball picked up a win in doubles play.
- Murray State will be the second Ohio Valley Conference opponent for the Hilltoppers this season, after taking on Austin Peay on February 10. WKU, which was in the OVC until 1982, has played Murray State and Austin Peay a combined 124 times in the program's history.
- The Hilltoppers switched around their lineup in the last match against Lindsey Wilson, moving J.T. Closi to the top singles position and adding Bobby Whitmore and Kaleb Ball into the singles rotation for the first time this season. WKU has also tried seven different doubles combinations in three matches. Craig Kirchgessner and Lance Freeman picked up the Hilltoppers first doubles win of the season.
WKU Individual Notes
- Junior Lance Freeman picked up his 15th career doubles win against Lindsey Wilson, teamming with Craig Kirchgessner for the second time in 2012. Kirchgessner and Freeman became the first Hilltopper doubles team to pick up a win this season.
- Seniors Arul Selvan and Craig Kirchgessner, along with junior Lance Freeman have been fixtures in the Hilltopper lineup, as Selvan has been listed in the Hilltopper lineup in 35 consecutive matches to lead all WKU players. Kirchgessner has started in 20-straight matches, while Freeman has been listed in 29-straight matches. For their careers, Selvan leads all Hilltoppers with 57 career starts, followed by Freeman with 40 and Kirchgessner with 35 career starts.
- WKU senior Arul Selvan is just three singles wins away from reaching the 30-win plateau.
- Freshmen J.T. Closi and Brody Freeman went the distance against Austin Peay, with each forcing their respective singles to a third set. Freeman fell in the final set 12-10 after taking the second set, 7-6.
- Freshman Josh Smith played each of the first two matches from the No. 1 singles and doubles position. The Hilltoppers managed just one win from the No. 1 singles position last season.
- With the additions of Kento and Yushi Okita and Brody Freeman to the 2012 Hilltopper roster, WKU now has two sets of siblings and a cousin on the current roster. Kento and Yushi Okita are brothers from Fort Wright, Ky., while Brody Freeman is the cousin to Lance and Morgan Freeman, who are brother and sister.