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Top-Seeded Aztecs Head to the MWC Championships This Week

Benedikt Stronk and the top-seeded Aztecs will play the winner of UNLV-Utah on Friday afternoon.
Benedikt Stronk and the top-seeded Aztecs will play the winner of UNLV-Utah on Friday afternoon.

April 25, 2005

SAN DIEGO -

SDSU Men's Tennis Weekly Release
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Top-Seeded Aztecs Head to the MWC Championships This Week
* The 40th-ranked San Diego State men's tennis team (15-5, 5-0 Mountain West Conference) enters the 2005 MWC Championships at Barnes Tennis Center as the top seed and will receive a first-round bye on Thursday. The regular season champions will take on the winner of (4)UNLV-(5)Utah on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

The Aztecs will be looking for its third tournament title after falling short in last year's championship match to New Mexico, 4-3.

Regular Season Champs
* Thanks to an undefeated conference record, SDSU claimed its fifth regular season crown in six years. The Aztecs claimed the conference's first four regular season titles, before falling short last year.

SDSU has finished with a 5-0 record only once before, in 2001, but fell short of the postseason crown, losing to Brigham Young, 4-1, and New Mexico, 4-2.

Streaking Aztecs
* SDSU's 11-match winning streak is its longest since before the 1996 season and is the longest to close out the regular season since the 2001 squad won eight in row.

The Aztecs' longest previous streak came in 2000 when they won nine in a row before losing to New Mexico in the conference tournament. Despite the setback, SDSU earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the round of 16 before being downed by Virigina Commonwealth, 4-3.

Dickhardt Honored
* San Diego State's Markus Dickhardt was named MWC men's tennis player of the week for the period ending April 19. The weekly award is the sophomore's first of his career and comes after a week in which he won all six of his matches during SDSU's three-match road trip.

The Marburg, Germany, native began the week by defeating Denver's Niklas Persson, 6-4, 7-5, at No. 2 singles. A couple days later in Colorado Springs, Colo., Dickhardt downed New Mexico's Ryan Stotland, 7-5, 6-1, at the second position in helping the Aztecs clinch at least a share of the MWC regular season title. The following day in the regular season finale at Air Force, the sophomore once again was victorious at No. 2 when he used a 6-3, 6-3, effort to beat Tyler McClung.

In doubles, it was more of the same as Dickhardt and Eugenio Romero went 3-0 on the road trip. At Denver, the duo posted an 8-6 win over the Pioneer pair of Jason Tan-Steve Flaks at No. 3. Two days later versus New Mexico, the Aztec tandem collected an 8-5 victory over Eric Conklin and Derek Boland at the bottom of the lineup. The next day, in the final match of the trip, the two had no trouble disposing of McClung and Robby Alexander of Air Force, 8-4, in the Aztecs' 5-2 win. On all three occasions, SDSU won the doubles point.

For the season, Dickhardt has been ranked as low as No. 79, but is currently ranked 125th nationally in singles. He is also Dickhardt is on a five-match winning streak, including a 9-3 mark at No. 2 and a record of 16-5 this spring, helping the Aztecs earn the MWC regular season title. His 16 wins surpasses last season's total of 14 when he won conference freshman of the year honors. In doubles action with Romero, the two have won three straight and own a record of 10-1 at No. 3 and 10-2 overall.

Dickhardt joins Benedikt Stronk (Jan. 26 and March 9), Armando Carrascosa (March 30) and Dontia Haynes (April 7) as the other Aztecs honored by the conference this season. SDSU now has five weekly honors to its credit and leads the league in that category.

Aztecs in the Rankings
* Benedikt Stronk, Armando Carrascosa and Markus Dickhardt are all ranked among the top-125 singles players in the country according to the latest ITA rankings.

Stronk jumped from No. 90 to No. 43 as a result of his victories over then-No. 13 Arnaud Lecloerec of Virginia Commonwealth and No. 59 Jeff Kader of William and Mary in the Aztecs' last match of the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic earlier this season. He is currently ranked 69th.

Carrascosa has been ranked anywhere from the 50s to the 100s all season long. His best ranking came earlier in the season when he was ranked No. 51, but in the latest poll is he considered the 100th-best singles player in the nation.

Dickhardt broke back into the rankings last week entering the charts at No. 125. The sophomore had been ranked as high as No. 79, but was absent from the list until last week.

Dontia Haynes is the fourth Aztec to have earned a spot in the poll being ranked as high as No. 84 early in the season. He has since fallen out despite his solid play of late.

There's No Place Like Home
* After months of waiting and rescheduling, the men's tennis team finally got to play its home matches at SDSU Tennis Stadium.

So far, the results have been outstanding as the Aztecs have gone 5-0 at their new home, beating four ranked teams.

The only blemish is the unfinished match No. 36 Virginia Commonwealth. That match was called due to rain with the Rams up 3-2 and the last singles match going to a third set.

Piling Up the Victories
* SDSU has been getting solid play all season long, but none more so than in singles play of late. Daniel Jung has the longest winning streak of any Aztec this season, compiling nine consecutive wins. For the season, the senior is 16-4, including a 10-1 record at No. 5 and 20-5 for the 2004-05 campaign. Right behind him is Chris Groh who boasts an eight-match winning streak. After suffering an early season injury at UCLA, the sophomore has come back to post an 11-1 record with marks of 4-0, 4-1 and 3-0 at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, respectively. Dickhardt is also on fire with his five straight wins and 16-5 mark this spring. At No. 2, the sophomore is 9-3 and at No. 3, he owns a record of 6-2. His other win came at the top position versus Utah.

Series History vs. Air Force
* SDSU has never lost to the Falcons since 1996. The Aztecs own a 11-0 record during that span. Their last meeting came at Colorado Springs when SDSU clinched the MWC regular season crown outright with its 5-2 win. The Aztecs are 2-0 all-time versus the Falcons in MWC Championship history.

Series History vs. Brigham Young
* SDSU holds a 9-4 series advantage since 1996. The Aztecs have won the last six matches, including a 4-3 triumph on April 2 in San Diego. The Cougars were ranked No. 58 at the time. The Aztecs are 2-1 against BYU in conference tournament play.

Series History vs. New Mexico
* Since 1996, the Aztecs are 7-7 against the Lobos. SDSU won the last meeting in Colorado Springs, 5-2, on April 16, snapping No. 60 New Mexico's two-match series winning streak. The Lobos are 3-1 against the Aztecs in MWC postseason action.

Series History vs. UNLV
* SDSU and UNLV have met 11 times since 1996 with the Aztecs owning a record of 6-5. Earlier this season, SDSU picked up a 5-2 win in upsetting the 40th-ranked team in the nation. The Aztecs are 1-0 versus the Rebels in championship history.

Series History vs. Utah
* Since 1996, SDSU has won seven of the last 11 matches, including seven straight. The last time time these schools met was April 1 in San Diego. The Aztecs claimed a 6-1 win in the conference opener for both teams. SDSU has won the only conference tournament meeting between the schools.