Men's Tennis Back in Action This Week
March 22, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's tennis team (9-9, 2-3 C-USA) will resume match play on the road this weekend, traveling to Jacksonville, Alabama, to face the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State, Saturday, before continuing on to Atlanta, Ga., to play Georgia State, Sunday.
Memphis is seeking to snap a three-match losing streak, all to nationally-ranked opponents, that it suffered in a tournament at No. 5 Rice University March 12-14th. In all, Memphis has faced nine ranked opponents, and owns one win over then-No. 65 Ball State, 4-2.
Memphis is being paced by junior Alex Bucewicz, who leads the team with an 11-6 overall mark, and freshman James Spence, who is 10-5 on the season. Senior Lee Taylor Walker is seeking to become the next Tiger to hit the double-digit win mark with a 9-9 record at No. 1 singles heading into the weekend.
Freshman Sam Withell was one of a number of Tigers who needed the off week to give some nagging injuries a rest, and Withell, with his 7-6 mark at No. 5 singles, will be looked to for additional points. Memphis is just 24-23 in the bottom three singles slots through the first 18 matches of the season and with the Conference USA Championships, which Memphis will host, looming just four weeks away.
The Tigers will open their weekend road schedule at Jacksonville State, Saturday. The Gamecocks (8-4, 3-0 Ohio Valley Conference) got off to its best start in school history at the NCAA Division I level, going 7-3 through their first 10 matches before falling at Stetson, 6-1, Sunday.
Jacksonville State has been led by Ruben Herrera at No. 1 singles in its last three matches (exact statistics are not available). Herrera is also teaming with junior Arturo Nieto at No. 1 doubles, while Nieto is playing No. 2 singles. Junior Vedran Sirola, sophomore Rodney Rapson, junior Kieran Ricci and sophomore Christian Rybertt round out the remainder of the JSU line-up for the Saturday match, which will begin at 11 a.m.
Georgia State is 6-6 and 2-3 in the Atlantic Sun Conference heading into this week. Jamie Rodriguez (3-2) and Albano Franco (2-4) have split time at No. 1 and 2 singles. Rodriguez is 2-2 at No. 2, while Franco is 2-1. Senior Miha Lisac, a first-team A-Sun honoree from last year, has also played some time at No. 2, with a 3-0 mark. Lisac, Rodriguez and sophomore Matija Sulin have all spent time at No. 3 singles, with Lisac playing the most matches there and sporting a 2-4 record. Sulin has played a majority of his matches at No. 4 singles, with a 2-4 record, while a tandem of four different players have filled out the No. 5 and 6 spots in the line-up.
Memphis will return home for a non-conference match against Murray State, Apr. 1st before its final road trip of the year to UALR, Apr. 8th. The Tigers will then round out the regular season against the University of New Orleans, Apr. 10th, before hosting the Conference USA Championships, Apr. 15-18th at the HPER Courts on the University of Memphis campus.