Men's Tennis Opens 2011 Campaign Friday
Jan. 19, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn.--The University of Memphis men's tennis program heads to Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday, in hopes of beating inclement weather, to open the 2011 spring campaign against top-ranked competition in No. 35 Tulsa and No. 47 Oklahoma State.
The Tigers first compete against the Golden Hurricane in a Conference USA battle slated for 2 p.m. Friday, followed by a showdown with the Cowboys at 12 p.m. on Saturday. Both dual matches will be at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center, where Memphis will return in April for the C-USA Championships.
The U of M faced both opening weekend opponents last season. In the 2010 season opener, the Blue and Gray fell to Tulsa in a 5-2 decision, in which Leon Nasemann tallied a big singles victory after a challenging bout with Philip Stephens at the No. 1 slot, 7-6, 5-6, 10-6. The conference foes last met in the 2010 C-USA Championships, where the TU ended the Tigers' 2010 season.
After securing the doubles point in their match-up against the Cowboys, Memphis was edged out in another 5-2 decision. Nasemann and partner John Taylor, upended OSU's Anton Bobytskyi and Eric West, 8-6, and Charlie Ramsay and Spencer Heflin took down Maximilian Kuhn and Illia Martinowski, 9-8. Ramsay recorded the other point for Memphis with his success at the No. 3 slot.
Tigers in the Polls
Freshmen Joe Salibury and David O'Hare open up the 2011 campaign as the 52nd-ranked duo in the country, and No. 6 in the Ohio Valley Region, according to the latest ITA rankings released Jan. 4.
This marks the sixth time a tandem from the U of M has been ranked nationally during the spring slate. The most recent was just last year, when senior Jordan Smith and junior David Henry were ranked 82nd in the 2010 year-end rankings. Smith and Henry jumped to 47th in the ITA preseason polls back in September, but fell from the doubles rankings following the fall campaign.
Freshmen Cedric de Zutter, Johnny Ferrer, David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury make up the largest recruiting class in program history and these newcomers are already setting the bar high. Salisbury and O'Hare enter the spring season ranked nationally in doubles. De Zutter and Ferrer amassed winning records during tournament play in the fall, with Ferrer taking the crown in the top singles flight at the UTC Steve Baras Classic. Daniel Shidler, who joins the Tigers from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, is also donning Blue and Gray for the first time and brings veteran collegiate experience to the young squad.
Looking for Leaders
With so many new arrivals in 2011, K.C. Griffin, David Henry, Leon Nasemann, Jordan Smith and John Taylor will have the responsibility of providing leadership for the inexperienced group. In 2010, Henry led the way, going 10-10 at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 slots in addition to Taylor's strong performance at the No. 4-6 positions where he assembled a 12-6 mark. In doubles, Henry and Smith posted a 14-4 record at the No. 1 slot, reaching as high as No. 47 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
In dual matches alone, the Tigers are slated to face six teams ranked in the top 75 according to ITA polls released on Jan. 4, 2011, and will likely take on additional ranked opponents at the Sunbelt Shootout in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in April. Memphis tennis prides itself in slating some of the toughest competition in the country in order to push and challenge the skillset of its players, and 2011 will be no different.
Opponents In The Rankings (Latest 1/4/11)
No. 18 Ole Miss
No. 30 Rice
No. 35 Tulsa
No. 39 Vanderbilt
No. 47 Oklahoma State
No. 68 SMU
Conference USA showcases fierce competition year in and year out and this spring should be no different. C-USA boasts three teams ranked in the top 75 according to the ITA polls released Jan. 4, 2011, and the U of M will battle all three ranked programs in dual matches. The Tigers also face conference foes East Carolina, Tulane, Southern Miss and UAB head-to-head before the C-USA Championships in Tulsa, Okla., April 21-24.
Teams (Latest Poll 1/4/11)
No. 30 Rice
No. 35 Tulsa
No. 68 SMU
Singles (Latest Poll 1/4/11)
No. 29 Artem Baradach SMU
No. 44 Harry Fowler Rice
No. 44 Marcelo Arevalo Tulsa
No. 89 Ashley Watling Tulsa
No. 96 Clifford Marsland Tulsa
No. 121 Philipp Seifert Rice
Doubles (Latest Poll 1/4/11)
No. 22 Clifford Marsland/Ashley Watling Tulsa
No. 52 Joe Salisbury/David O'Hare Memphis