Men's Tennis to Open 2004-05 Schedule This Weekend
Sept. 16, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The first Tiger tennis team under Head Coach Paul Goebel's guidance departs Thursday, heading for a season-opening tournament in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and perhaps some face time with Hurricane Ivan.
The 18th Annual Middle Tennessee Fall Invitational was originally slated to get underway Friday, but the tournament draw is on hold depending on how long Ivan decides to hoover over the Nashville area. The 2004 participants (South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Belmont, Memphis, Cumberland, UAB, Tennessee Tech and Vanderbilt) were hoping to start play over the weekend. The published draw on the Middle Tennessee website has the tournament's start date pushed all the way back to Sunday, meaning the Tigers may have to wait even longer for their season opener.
"The guys are really playing well, but are definitely ready to play someone other than their teammates," Goebel said. "We've had three great weeks of practice and everyone is really excited to see if the hard work over the summer will pay off. We're going into this tournament as well prepared as any we've gone into in any of the fall tournaments. It will definitely be a good test to see where we stand among some other nationally-ranked teams."
Junior James Spence and senior Alex Bucewicz are slated to play in the Flight A1 singles. Spence was the Tigers' No. 2 singles player last year, finishing with a 12-7 record during the spring dual season, and also teamed with now-graduated Lee Taylor Walker at No. 1 doubles. Bucewicz was the team's No. 3 singles player in 2003-04, finishing the spring with a 14-8 record. Bucewicz also teamed with fellow senior Marten Tamla for an 11-4 mark at No. 2 doubles.
Tamla and junior Alex Jago will be the Memphis contingent playing in the A2 Singles flight. Tamla, who finished his first year in Memphis with a 12-7 mark at No. 4 singles, is tentatively slated to face South Alabama's Jordan Magarik, assuming the Jaguars got out of Mobile before Ivan hit. Jago will open his 2004-05 season against Vanderbilt's Andy Mack, barring a change in the draws. Jago split time at No. 6 singles last year with Mark Finnegan and Luke Campbell, finishing with a 5-4 record.
"After the three fall tournaments, I'll have a much better feel of the line-up. I think it will continue to be a line-up that changes a lot. We did lose our No. 1 from last year, but I think we'll be deeper down the line-up than we were last year," Goebel said.
Finnegan and newcomer Scott Felsenthal will compete in the B1 Singles flight for Memphis. Finnegan, who battled injury in 2003-04, finished with a 6-2 mark at No. 6 singles, while Felsenthal, who competed last year for the University of Washington, will open his Tiger career against Tennessee Tech's Borja Zarco. Finnegan will face UAB's Adrian Tollstam, getting an early peek on Conference USA competition before the spring dual season. Also competing in the B1 singles bracket will be sophomore Sam Withell and senior Andrew Olswing. Withell posted a 7-6 mark in his first semester of college tennis before a season-ending back injury pushed him out of the line-up. Olswing stepped into one of those matches, picking up a 1-0 mark at No. 6 singles during the spring season.
A pair of Tigers opening their Memphis careers will find themselves in the B2 singles bracket. Freshman Bryan Bankester is slated to open his collegiate career against Western Kentucky's David Bowman, while Garrison Pilant will open his Tiger career against Cumberland University's Brady McPherson.
Should the entire singles draw get washed out, the teams could possibly all just meet for three rounds of doubles play. In that case, Tamla and Felsenthal will be paired together in Flight One Doubles, while Spence and Bucewicz will make up the second Tiger team in that bracket.
Jago and Olswing will team together in the Flight Two Doubles bracket, while Bankester and Pilant will make up the only other Tiger doubles team in the tournament.
The tournament draw and results, as well as news on the weather situation, can be found on the Middle Tennessee website at www.goblueraiders.com.