Pipe Dream/File Photo Senior Sven Vloedgraven received a No. 55 national ranking and No. 1 Northeast ranking entering the spring season.

After an offseason of preparation, the Binghamton University men’s tennis team has some extra motivation entering the spring season. The Bearcats are now ranked No. 50 in the nation by the ITA, with senior Sven Vloedgraven receiving a No. 55 rank individually.

While the No. 50 ranking puts BU in national prominence, it represents a drop from last season, when the team was ranked as high as No. 43 in the country. Still, Binghamton is the only SUNY school and the only America East school to be nationally ranked. The only other school from New York to make the top 50 is Columbia University, at No. 48.

The Bearcats are coming off a 25-2 season and their third-straight America East title. Before losing to No. 24 Georgia Tech in the NCAA Tournament, Binghamton had won 20 dual meets in a row. Even in the 4-1 loss to Georgia Tech, the Bearcats were leading in the two unfinished matches.

Individually, Vloedgraven stood out for his No. 55 rank, the best of his career. It’s a significant rise from his previous rank of No. 84. The honor comes as no surprise, as Vloedgraven had been competing against some of the top names in the country during the fall season and holding his own. He beat No. 66 Brenann Boyajian (now No. 90) from the University of North Carolina at the ITA All-American Championship, and No. 22 Jeff Dadamo (now No. 54) of Texas A&M University at the ITA National Indoor Championship, which was held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Vloedgraven features even more prominently in the Northeast Rankings, where he currently sits at No. 1. Teammate and fellow senior Arnav Jain is currently sixth in those rankings after finishing last season 24-0 in duals, including a win in the NCAA Tournament match.

Vloedgraven and junior Gilbert Wong were No. 9 in the Northeast in doubles, while Jain and junior Alexandre Haggai are right behind them at No. 10.

Binghamton’s 2011 slate of dual matches begins on Jan. 29-30 at the ITA Kick-Off Classic to be held at top-ranked University of Virginia. No. 51 East Tennessee State and No. 65 Cornell University are also scheduled to participate in the tournament. The schedule also features matches against No. 48 Columbia, No. 64 Harvard, No. 71 Yale and No. 75 William and Mary. Binghamton is only scheduled to have two home meets this season, against the University of Buffalo and Fairleigh Dickinson University on April 9.