Tigers and Crimson Tide Clash in Tuscaloosa on Sunday
Feb. 28, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis men's tennis team (6-3) will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sun., March 1, for a dual with the No. 20 Alabama Crimson Tide. The match will begin at 10 a.m., at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide have registered a 7-1 record so far this season.
"The next couple of matches will be challenging for us," said Memphis head coach Paul Goebel. "Alabama and Ole Miss are two of the best teams in the SEC and the country. It will be interesting to see how we stack up against them." The U of M is coming off of a victory over the Georgia State Bulldogs, 4-3, on Feb. 21. The Tigers swept doubles to take the early lead, 1-0, and picked up big victories from Leon Nasemann, Michael Hayes and Michael Gaerthoeffner to help catapult Memphis to a win.
The top of the Tiger line-up has been boosted this season by a phenomenal start to the season by newcomer Jorge Vazquez. The senior from La Coruna, Spain, sat out last season after transferring to the Bluff City from Tyler Junior College where he helped the Apaches claim runner-up honors at the NJCAA Division I National Championship. Vazquez lept onto the scene quickly this season when in his first weekend in the Blue and Gray he upended 23rd-ranked Roy Kalmanovich of Illinois. The Memphis netter road that momentum into the U of M's first dual of the season with conference foe Rice, who was ranked 24th at the time of the match. Vazquez picked up the Tigers' only win of the day, but it was a big one, when he took down 26th-ranked Bruno Rosa. So far on the season, Vazquez has posted a 7-3 record with two of his three losses coming to ranked opponents.
In doubles, the No. 2 duo of Jordan Smith and Benedikt Fischer have gone 7-4 so far this year. The pair got off to an early start this fall when they won the double championship at the Blue and Gray Invitational in Montgomery, Ala. Since then, Fischer and Smith have come away with victories against Georgia State, Rice, Morehead State, Murray State, Southeastern Louisiana, Prairie View A&M and Rhodes.
Alabama is led by 87th-ranked Mathieu Thibaudeau, a senior from St. Georges, Quebec. Thibaudeau is 5-3 in his final season as a member of the Crimson Tide tennis squad. He has picked up two victories over ranked opponents this season, defeating No. 53 Lucas Jovita of South Florida and No. 86 Yoann Re of Virginia Tech. Thibaudeau will provide yet another test for Memphis' Vazquez. He will be the fifth ranked opponent the Memphis senior has faced on the season.
In doubles, the Tide is led by 14th-rated Billy Mertz and Syketh Myneni. The duo has a mark of 7-2 this season and are currently riding a six-match winning streak.
Alabama, as a team, has defeated two-straight ranked foes, taking down No. 58 Indiana in a close 4-3 decision on Feb. 21, and coming away victorious in a 5-2 win over No. 63 Clemson. The Crimson Tide also has two other victories over rated competitors, defeating No. 24 Miami and No. 70 Furman. The only loss on the season for Alabama was in a 4-3 struggle at No. 15 Pepperdine.
The Memphis men's tennis team will stay on the road with a date in Oxford, Miss., with the No. 9 Ole Miss Rebels on Tues., March 3.