Seven ranked opponents will await the Princeton men's tennis team at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic this weekend in Montgomery, Ala.
Princeton, ranked No. 60, will join (11) Mississippi State, (21) Clemson, (28) Auburn, (36) Alabama, (37) VCU, (41) Boise State and (55) Texas Tech.
The Tigers will open play against Clemson at 2:30 p.m. ET Friday, followed by either Boise State or Alabama Saturday and Mississippi State, Auburn, VCU or Texas Tech Sunday.
Princeton has faced six of the other seven teams in the field at some point in program history, but Mississippi State is the only opponent that any of the current Tigers have faced. The Bulldogs took a 4-0 win from Princeton to open the 2012 season at the ITA Kick-Off event site at Texas A&M. Mississippi State is also the alma mater of current Princeton coach Billy Pate, who took over the team last season.
Against Clemson, Princeton has a 3-7 all-time record with the last meeting coming in 2008, a 4-3 Tiger win in Clemson. Should Princeton face Boise State, it'd be the first meeting between the schools, and should Princeton face Alabama, it'd be the third meeting in a series that Alabama leads 2-0 with the most recent meeting in 2007. Alabama is where Pate spent 10 seasons as the program's head coach from 2002-12 prior to coming to Princeton.
Princeton is 0-1 all time against Auburn, with that meeting coming in 1990, and 5-3 against Auburn's first-round opponent, Texas Tech, with the last meeting coming in 1995. The Tigers are 0-2 all-time against VCU, most recently meeting in 2009, and 0-1 against Mississippi State, with the 2012 contest as the only meeting in that series.
Princeton will enter the weekend with a 6-1 dual-match record after starting 5-0 for the first time since 1979 before taking its first loss to Columbia to open the ECAC Tournament. Princeton rebounded with a win over George Washington last Sunday.
Rookies Josh Yablon and Alex Day are among Princeton's leaders in singles wins in the dual-match season, with Yablon going 6-1 so far and Day 5-1. Senior Augie Bloom is the only Tiger to have appeared in a singles dual and still be undefeated, putting together a 5-0 record between fourth and fifth singles. On the doubles courts, seniors Bloom and Dan Davies are 6-1 with freshmen Yablon and Tom Colautti at 5-0.
Following the matches, Princeton will return home for two weekends of matches against Buffalo and Stony Brook on March 1 and Penn State and Denver on March 8 and 9. The Ivy League season will begin March 29 at Penn.