Men's Tennis to Host Alumni Match, Jan. 16th
Jan. 5, 2005
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's tennis team will open the 2004-05 spring portion of the season with an Alumni Match, Jan. 16th, at the Racquet Club of Memphis. Former Tigers wanting to participate in the day's festivities are asked to contact Head Coach Paul Goebel at (901) 678-2315.
"This match gives us a good chance to practice in a game-like setting and also brings back alumni and gives them a chance to meet the team," Goebel said. "It's a great way for us to kick off what will be a very competitive spring season."
In all, Memphis will face a minimum of 12 ranked opponents out of the 21 currently scheduled matches (the Tigers do not know who they will face in the C-USA shootout other than DePaul in the first round). The tough schedule will mean Memphis faces 10 of those 12 opponents on the road.
"Our schedule is tough, but this is the type of schedule that I want to put together every year," Goebel said. "In order to get to the NCAA tournament for tennis, you need to play this type of schedule. That's not necessarily the greatest thing for an overall coaching record, but I don't care about that. This is the type of schedule we will put together every year."
One of the toughest things about schedule collegiate men's tennis comes from Conference USA not making league play mandatory for matches throughout February and March.
"It's tough though, because Conference USA is one of a very few conferences that does not have conference play, so it's really hard getting matches in February and March when everyone else has a conference match to play. It's tough to get ranked opponents to want to come to Memphis too. We have some good home matches this year (UALR, Middle Tennessee), but we have to return those trips next year. I'd like to find someone who is ranked in the 50s through 70s to have them come here and spread those return trips out, but that will always be a fight since other schools have conference matches to play at the same time we're trying to schedule home matches."
C-USA ended 2003-04 with four ranked teams, led by then No. 18 TCU, followed closely by No. 20 Tulane. Even though the league changes membership in 2005-06, Goebel already knows the tennis will not get any easier.
"Conference USA has become one of the premier tennis conferences in the country," Goebel said. "But the addition of Rice (No. 11), SMU (No. 34), Tulsa (No. 57) and UCF (No. 70) means it will be just as tough as ever."
Memphis will look to its five member senior class to lead the way in the 2004-05 season. Returning is four-year Tiger Alex Bucewicz, who has led the team in wins in each of the past three seasons.
"Alex has had the best record on the team the past three years," Goebel said. " He's a team captain who should provide a lot of great leadership towards the top of the line-up."
Bucewicz will get some leadership help from fellow seniors Andrew Olswing, Mark Finnegan, Martin Tamla and Scott Felsenthal. All four transferred into the Memphis program in the past three seasons. Also returning is junior James Spence, who teamed with Felsenthal to finish the season playing some very solid doubles at the ITA Southeast Regional, where they beat a ranked duo.
The Tigers will open the spring dual season against Rhodes College, Jan. 22nd, then open a five-game road swing that begins at Vanderbilt (No. 16), at Tennessee (No. 21) at Oral Roberts, at Oklahoma State (No. 35) and at Tulsa (No. 57).