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From early struggles to the NCAA tournament, the Drake men's tennis team maintains their championship mindset

The Drake men's tennis team made their way to Fort Worth, Texas Wednesday afternoon as they gear up for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

DES MOINES, Iowa β€” On Monday, The Drake University men's tennis team learned they would be taking on top-seeded TCU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs earned an automatic bid after winning the Summit League Tournament almost two weeks ago.

Despite some growing pains in the beginning, they've always felt like they were a championship team.

"It was just more of a lot of growing pains we were going through a season ago that carried unfortunately lingered into this season," said head coach Davison Kozlowski. "Add a conference schedule that was extremely tough, playing on the road for about the first month and a half of the season at Cornell, at Nebraska, Wisconsin, Alabama, Vanderbilt, losing 4-3 in all those matchups."

"We knew we were close and I kept trying to tell the guys you know, I believe we're a championship team. I believe that you guys are champions and we're gonna keep training, acting and believing and conducting ourselves as though we are a championship team."

And they plan to carry that confidence into their first-round matchup.

"First and foremost you have to go out there with the belief that you know, you can compete and that you do belong and follow that up with the belief and confidence that you can win," Kozlowski said. "It's not about letting the moment get the best of you. Enjoy the moment, embracing it and just kind of running your plays. You know, not trying to overdo anything, but you know, play within yourself, run your plays. The same stuff that we practice all the time."

"I mean upsets happen all the time. What does it take? It takes us playing our game and maybe playing better, really than our games. But, again, handling everything the right way."

Drake will take the court on Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m.

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