Spence and Withell Ranked No. 19 in Country in Doubles
Feb. 22, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's tennis team's top singles team of senior James Spence and sophomore Sam Withell is the 19th-ranked doubles team in the country in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll released, Wednesday.
The ranking is the second of the spring for Spence, who was ranked No. 8 in the country in doubles when teamed with fellow senior Alex Jago. An injury for Jago meant that Spence had to switch doubles partners. The result was a 6-1 record with Withell, including a 1-0 mark against ranked opponents and a four-match win streak that came while the Tigers were on the road for five straight matches at ranked opponents. Spence and Jago are still ranked in the polls pending a decision on Jago's availability for the remainder of the season. That duo is No. 20 in the country.
Memphis is 2-5 heading into a Friday match against C-USA newcomer UCF. The Tigers are hoping to snap a five-game skid that includes losses at No. 23 Oklahoma State, No. 50 Tulsa, No. 46 Oklahoma, No. 16 Tennessee and No. 41 Vanderbilt. The losses dropped the Tigers out of the team poll, but the Tigers hope to not only improve their 0-1 C-USA mark with a pair of league matches this weekend, but to build up a little momentum before their next road swing through a trio of West Coast schools, including Pacific, No. 10 Washington and No. 75 Oregon.
UCF brings a 4-2 overall mark into Friday's match. Both losses have been to top 20 schools, as UCF lost to No. 6 Florida, 7-0, at to No. 18 Miami, 7-0. The four Golden Knight wins have come at the expense of Florida Atlantic (6-1), UT-San Antonio (5-2), Bethune-Cookman (6-1) and Division II ranked foes Rollins College (5-4).
The Tigers will remain in Orlando to face East Carolina, Saturday, at 10 a.m. before returning home to play their first home match since Jan. 27th when they welcome UT Martin to town on Feb. 28th. East Carolina is 4-3 under new head coach Shawn Heinchon. The Pirates and the Tigers have not had any common opponents yet this season, and ECU will be kicking off a stretch of three matches against C-USA foes while in Florida.
Memphis has been trying to find a line-up that Head Coach Paul Goebel is comfortable with. Junior Michael Jetter and freshman Matt Brewer have each played matches at both No. 1 and 2 singles, with Jetter carrying a 1-2 record, while Brewer is 1-3 at the top spot. Both also have two singles wins at No. 2, where Brewer is 2-1 and Jetter is 2-2. The one position that hasn't changed for the Tigers has been senior James Spence at No. 3. Spence, who recently received a wild card into the Region/Morgan Keegan Singles Qualifying tournament before falling 6-2, 6-1, is 3-4 at No. 3 singles.
Withell, recently returned from his native Australia in January, is off to a 2-4 start at No. 4 singles for Memphis, while Bryan Bankester, Garrison Pilant and Tezar Putra have all shared time at No. 4 and 6 singles.