Tiger Tennis to Face Host Rice in Opening Round
April 17, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's tennis team will face the host institution for the second straight year in the opening round of the Conference USA Men's Tennis Championships. The Tigers will face host Rice, the No. 2 seed, at 1 p.m., Friday.
This will be the first-ever meeting with the Owls since both teams were in Conference USA. The last meeting between the programs was on Mar. 13, 2004, when the then-No. 6 Owls defeated the No. 75 Tigers, 5-1, in Houston.
Rice is the No. 30 ranked team in the country in the latest FILA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings and is 13-10 on the season and 0-2 in Conference USA play.
Memphis is 8-12 overall and 1-2 in league play, but has struggled as of late without junior Amrit Narasimhan in the line-up. Narasimhan, who missed three matches against Murray State, Southern Miss and UALR, has worked his way back to the line-up, but had to play a nationally-ranked singles player, No. 87 Andreas Siljestrom in his first match back in the Tigers' regular season finale at Middle Tennessee.
For the season, Narasimhan is 7-4 at No. 1 singles, including a 1-5 mark against nationally-ranked opponents in dual season play. He is 16-15 overall in his first year at Memphis and has teamed with Benedikt Fischer for a 6-9 mark at No. 1 doubles.
The conference tournament schedule differs from other dual matches in that the two teams will typically play doubles first and will then put matches on beginning with the lower slots in the singles line-up first. So that means MUS graduate Spencer Heflin might be the first Tiger to start his match at No. 6 singles if the line-up does not change. Heflin is 6-3 at No. 6 this spring and is 14-14 in singles play so far in his young Tiger career. He is also teaming with Garrison Pilant at No. 3 doubles, where the tandem is 8-11 on the season.
Freshman Cody Loup has come on late in the season and is now 6-3 at No. 5 singles on the season. For the year, Loup is 8-19 overall, but has also been playing one slot higher in the line-up as of late due to Narasimhan's injury.
Fellow freshman Charlie Ramsay leads the team with nine singles wins at No. 4 singles. Sporting a 9-8 mark at No. 4, Ramsay has also gone 2-1 at No. 3 singles as of late. On the year, he is tied with Narasimhan with 16 singles victories, against 17 losses. Ramsay is also teaming with junior Jimmy Khougassian at No. 2 doubles, where the tandem is 10-9.
Benedikt Fischer has played a three different spots in the singles line-up, but has most of his match experience at No. 3, where he is 5-6. Fischer is 13-23 on the season and may also play No. 1 doubles with Narasimhan. Fischer teamed with Cody Loup at No. 1 doubles in three of the last four matches with Narsimhan's injury, and the tandem went 2-2, including a loss to the No. 4 ranked doubles team in the country at Middle Tennessee.
Jimmy Khougassian will likely play at No. 2 singles, although he, like Narasimhan and Fischer, has played at all three spots atop the Tiger line-up. Khougassian, who is 10-22 on the year, is 5-4 at No. 2 singles and 2-5 at No. 1.
Tulsa is the top seed for the men's tennis championships, followed by No. 2 seed Rice, No. 3 SMU and No. 4 UAB. UCF, Southern Miss, Memphis and East Carolina round out the men's draw, which begins Friday, at 8 a.m. with UAB and UCF squaring off.
If the weather holds up and the match is played outside, Live Stats will be available at the following link: http://riceowls.cstv.com/livestats/m-tennis/xlive.htm. If rain pushes the matches inside at two different locations, no live stats will be available but match results can be found at www.conferenceusa.com or www.gotigersgo.com.