A-Sun Makes Appearances in ITA Preseason Rankings

Thursday, January 07, 2010

SKILLMAN, N.J. – For the Atlantic Sun Conference, ETSU, USC Upstate and UNF men’s tennis and Stetson’s women’s tennis earned high rankings in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) preseason poll, as announced on Wednesday.

The three-time defending A-Sun champion ETSU Bucs earned a team ranking of 62, after a 63rd place finish nationally on an 11-7 mark in non-conference play and perfect 9-0 A-Sun record last season. The Bucs welcome No. 51 ranked Jesus Bandres and return No. 82 ranked junior Grega Teraz and No. 89 ranked junior Charles Bottoni. Bandres, a freshman from Caracas, Venezuela, picked up a win at the 2009 Wilson ITA Regional Championships against Tennnessee’s Davey Sandgren in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (3), before falling just short of the quarterfinals with a loss to Kentucky’s No. 70 ranked Eric Quigley 6-2, 6-1.

Teraz, a 2008 Atlantic Sun Conference Second-team member, led the Bucs at the Wilson ITA Regional Championships. However the Mojstrana, Slovenia native’s journey came to an end to Louisville’s No. 84 ranked Simon Childs in the quarterfinals inside the Varsity Tennis Center at Indiana University. Bottoni, a native of Bois Guillaume, France, transferred from High Point University where the junior finished the 2008 season at 13-4 in singles action, including a 4-1 mark in league play. Bottoni played as High Point’s No. 1 singles player for most of the season, helping to lead the Panthers to the Big South semifinals, and winning his semifinal match in straight sets against Winthrop’s Vinicius Bortolatto. The Bucs also return sophomore Sander Gille, a native of Kuringen, Belgium. At the Wilson ITA Ohio Valley Regionals, Gill fell to EKU’s Alex Das in a three-set match (5-7, 6-3, 6-4).

In doubles action, ETSU’s team of sophomore Ofir Weintraub and senior Daniel Isaza tied for No. 39 with UNF freshman Daniel Sotomarino and junior Gleb Maslau, Joe Delinks and Eugene Dolgovykh of UCF, Sky Lovill and Nick Andrews from California, Evan Neuman and Landon Neuman of Wright State University, Cesar Bracho and Mauricio Ballivian from Drake University, Creighton Blanchard and Michael Davis of Alabama, Anton Bobytskyi and Eric West from Oklahoma State, David Tillem and Charlie Caris of Georgetown and Delaware’s Camilo Perez and Ryan Kent. Also, ETSU’s team of Bandres and Gille tied with Alex Llompart and Finn Tierney of Pepperdine and Adrian Forberg Skogeng and Tucker Vorster from Mississippi for 52nd.

At the 2009 Wilson ITA Regional Championships, Isaza, a native of Medellin, Colombia picked up a three-set win against then No. 62 ranked and fifth seed Viktor Maksimcuk of Louisville, 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (5) before falling to then No. 20 Matteo Fago of Tennessee, 6-1, 6-3. Before ETSU, fellow Buc Ofir Weintraub attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, where the Rishon Le Zion, Israel native helped lead the Bees to an 11-8 overall record and a No. 10 national ranking in the NAIA.

Last season, UNF’s Daniel Sotomarino made it to round 32 of the USA F28 Futures Tournament in Niceville, Fla. before falling to Christoph Thiemann in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Fellow Osprey, Gleb Maslau, a Baranovichi, Belarus native, lost to Thiemann in the second round of the USA F28 Futures Tournament, 6-4, 6-4. Thiemann ranked 1,611 in the 2008 end of year ATP world rankings.

The USC Upstate Spartans rank 72nd overall in the preseason ITA poll after finishing 22-3 overall and 9-1 in conference play, good for second in the A-Sun in 2009. The Spartans won a school-record 20 straight matches during the season and won a school-record four A-Sun Player of the Week awards in the campaign. USC Upstate rose as high as 65th in the rankings at the height of its 20-match win streak on April 7, which included a win against No. 59 UNC Wilmington.

The Spartans also tied an A-Sun record with six individuals earning selections to the all-conference teams, tying the mark set by Samford in 1991 and UALR in 1985. USC Upstate feature sophomore Edgar Rodriguez, who earned 2009 A-Sun Freshman of the Year honors. The Bogota, Colombia native reached the third round at the ITA/Carolina Regionals and the qualifying singles round of the D'Novo/ITA All-American Championships. The Spartans also feature four seniors in Javier Tori, Jack Roux, Renzo Airaldi and Arnaldo Lovera, who all rank amongst the top 10 in school history in career singles wins. Tori, Roux and Airaldi also rank in the top 10 in school history in career combined wins.

At the D'Novo/ITA All-American Championships at the University of Tulsa's Michael D. Case Tennis Center, Roux and Tori fell to Arkansas’ then No. 43 ranked Dmitry Lebedev and Chris Nott, 8-1, ending their run in the qualifying doubles finals on Wednesday, Oct. 7. In doubles play at the Wilson/ITA Carolina Regionals on Thursday, Oct. 15, Airaldi and Tori beat UNC Greensboro's William John and Timion Meijs, 8-4, but fell in the second round to the No. 9-seed David Hopkins and Carlos Salmon, 9-8 (1). Roux and Rodriguez enjoyed a first-round bye before falling in the second round to Appalachian State's Trent Constance and Peter Jacobs. In 2009, Lovera finished with 4-1 a mark overall in singles play and 0-1 in doubles play and an A-Sun Player of the Week award for his 2-0 performance at the Yale duals on Feb. 11. The Caracas, Venezuela native finished the season ranked 11th in school history with 46 singles wins.

In A-Sun women’s tennis, Stetson’s doubles team of Montevideo, Uruguay natives in Valentina Galbarini and Carolina de los Santos earned a ranking of 60 in the ITA preseason poll. Galbarini finished the 2009 season as Stetson’s No. 1 singles player with marks at 16-4 overall and 7-1 in A-Sun singles. The senior earned First Team All-Atlantic Sun honors, as well as A-Sun All-Tournament Team honors and an A-Sun Player of the Week award on Feb. 18.

Before attending Stetson, de los Santos won Uruguayan national championships in singles six times at five different levels since 2002 (U-12, U-14, U-16, U-18 and the 2007 Women's National Championship) and the 2006 Guayaquil Bowl in Ecuador, to go along with a runner-up position at the Dodge Bowl in Venezuela the same year. The freshman earned a win on the Copa BMW tour in her homeland in April 2009, as well as helping the Carrasco Lawn Tennis Club win several amateur championships in team competition. de los Santos has also participated with U-12 and U-14 South American Championship squads.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.