Men's Tennis Travels To No. 23 Auburn

March 19, 2003

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ON TAP: The Arizona State men's tennis team (5-7, 1-0 Pac-10) will break up a nine match homestand as they travel to the state of Alabama to face 23rd-ranked Auburn (9-4) on Friday, March 21 at 1:30 p.m. ASU holds a 6-1 all-time mark against Auburn.

LAST TIME OUT: The Devils split their last two duals, defeating Wake Forest, 4-3 before falling to San Diego State, 5-2. Against WF, the Devils were able to come back and sweep four singles matches to earn the win after dropping the doubles point. Both of the Letcher brothers won in singles, adding to the momentum that the Sun Devils had already set in action with a win from Pim Van Mele. With the score at 3-2 in favor of ASU, and two singles matches to go, Chris Stewart stepped up and won a tough three-set tiebreaker 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3) to seal the win. Versus SDSU, the doubles team of Ryan McBride and Van Mele were the only ones to gain a win, while in singles Chris Letcher and McBride's wins were not enough to take the dual from the Aztecs in the end.

250/600: With the 6-1 victory against Santa Clara two historical records were set. Head coach Lou Belken achieved his 250th career win, while Arizona State earned the 600th win in the program's history.

HEAD COACH LOU BELKEN: In his 21st season as head coach, Lou Belken has produced 14 All-Americans and 15 All-Pac-10 selections, including NCAA singles champion and ATP professional Sargis Sargsian. Belken is also only the 12th coach (currently only the second active) in Arizona State athletic history to achieve the 20 season milestone. Belken, the 1999 Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year and Region VIII Coach of the Year, has guided the Sun Devils to NCAA postseason berths in 11 of the last 15 years, including five berths in the NCAA round of 16 and one quarterfinal appearance. Academically since 1991, Belken has placed 15 players on the Pacific-10 All-Academic teams and has placed several players on the GTE Academic All-American teams.

DEVILS IN THE RANKINGS: As a team, Arizona State is No. 47 in the Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings, administered by the ITA. In doubles, the duo of Olivier Charroin and Chris Stewart climbed up to No. 14.

SCHEDULE STRENGTH: Once again the Devils will face a strong non-conference slate along with the always powerful Pac-10 Conference. Ten ASU opponents earned NCAA bids last year, while eight of this year's opponents are ranked in the top-25. The Pac-10 comprises four of the nation's top-10 teams and five of the eight Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top-20.

DOUBLES SUCCESS: ASU has won seven out of the 12 doubles points this season, and are a combined 21-15 in dual play. The doubles team of juniors Olivier Charroin and Chris Stewart's success last season has continued into this season. The pair, currently ranked No. 14 in the country by the ITA, posted an 8-1 mark in the fall after winning the Southern California Regional doubles championship. The pair then went on to the ITA National Indoors doubles championship where they advanced to the second round. Dating back to last season, Charroin and Stewart are a combined 31-10. They are 6-4 in dual action this year at the No. 1 slot with a 14-5 overall mark. The duo recorded a perfect 12-0 dual record at the No. 3 slot last year, finishing at 16-5 overall with a team-leading 8-4 Pac-10 record. Ryan McBride and Pim Van Mele are just as strong at the No. 3 slot where they have lost only once at 9-1.

HOME SWEET HOME: Over the past five seasons, Arizona State holds an impressive 52-20 (.722) overall dual record at the Whiteman Tennis Center, and a 39-16 (.710) mark against non-conference teams.

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