FGCUAthletics.com
Men's Tennis Picked Ninth In Preseason Poll
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s tennis team was tabbed ninth in the Atlantic Sun Conference men’s tennis preseason coaches’ poll, the conference announced on Wednesday. ETSU earned top pick in the, edging out USC Upstate and Stetson.

The Eagles return three seniors, including 2009 Second Team All-Atlantic Sun selection Thibaud Aime (Figeac, France). “With the leadership of Thibaud Aime and the addition some exciting new players, I expect to have a very competitive team,” head coach J. Webb Horton said. “We have some solid newcomers, including Carlo Checchia, Matthew Rock, and Mitchell Lvovsky, who come to us as transfers. Collin Brown and Nicholas Moore are our two freshmen who will be welcome additions to our program. Our returners Binninger, Costa, and De Villa will all be fighting to get into the top six. Overall I am looking forward the 2009-10 season.”

ETSU, three-time defending A-Sun champions returns from flawless conference play last season, as the 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. The Bucs welcome No. 51 ranked Jesus Bandres to a team that returns two additional ranked players in No. 82 Grega Teraz, a junior, and No. 89 Charles Bottoni, a fellow junior. Bandres enters the season as the highest ranked ETSU freshman in school history after posting a 4-4-0 record with wins against players from three ranked teams.

During the fall season, Teraz posted a remarkable 7-2-0 mark with wins against individuals from three ranked teams, including No. 38 Boris Conkic of No. 8 Tennessee. Bottoni enters the spring after a strong fall campaign in which the sophomore posted a 5-2-0 mark with wins against players from three ranked programs, which include No. 8 Tennessee, No. 17 Wake Forest and No. 52 Columbia. In doubles action, ETSU’s pair of sophomore Ofir Weintraub and senior Daniel Isaza tied for No. 39 in the ITA preseason poll, while the duo of Bandres and sophomore Sander Gille enter the new season ranked at No. 52.

USC Upstate received the second-place position in the coaches’ poll, as the Spartans return the winningest senior class in school history on a 9-1 conference tally from last season. USC Upstate also fell one set short of the A-Sun regular-season title at the hands of ETSU in the final match of the season. The Spartans return sophomore Edgar Rodriguez, who earned 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 during the fall, both of which accounted for the best performances in the D-I era by a Spartan. USC Upstate also returns a strong senior class in Javier Tori, Jack Roux, Renzo Airaldi and Arnaldo Lovera, all of whom rank amongst the top 10 in school history for career singles wins and Tori, Roux and Airaldi all rank in the top 10 in school history in career combined wins.

Stetson tied for second on the coaches’ poll with USC Upstate, thanks in part to the outstanding play of Cesare Gallo and doubles partner, sophomore Maksim Levanovich. The pair reached the second round of the ITA Southeast Region Championships during the fall, defeating Florida State’s Owen Long and Keith Embree, 8-2. Gallo and Levanovich earned 2009 Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team accolades and appear at No. 7 in the regional doubles rankings. Gallo also ranks at No. 15 in singles play after leading Stetson at the ITA tournament in which the sophomore defeated FSU’s Owen Long, 6-1, 6-1 before falling to Georgia’s No. 4 Nate Schnugg.

UNF landed fourth in the poll after closing fall competition at the USA F28 Futures Tournament in Niceville, Fla. The Ospreys’ Daniel Sotomarino made it to round 32 in the tournament before falling to Germany’s Christoph Thiemann in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Teammate, 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.

Campbell notched the sixth spot on the coaches’ preseason poll, just one point behind Belmont, and feature 2010 Preseason Player of the Year, Davy Sum. The senior from Kyiv, Ukraine, returns from a powerful fall season carrying a 62-21 career singles record. Sum posted a 25-11 singles mark as a freshman, 27-7 as a sophomore, and a 10-3 record in 2009 fall competition. The two-time First-Team All-Atlantic Sun performer earned A-Sun Freshman of the Year honors in 2008 and A-Sun Player of the Week on three occasions. In 2009, Sum won the Elon Fall Invitational, reached the finals of the UNCW Fall Invitational and advanced to the round of 16 at the ITA Southeast Regional as No. 17, eventually falling to the second-seeded player. A two-time A-Sun All-Academic Team selection, Sum also won the Flight A Doubles Title at the Hampton Roads Fall Invitational in 2008 and carries a 0-rating in his native France.

Mercer, Jacksonville, FGCU, Kennesaw State and Lipscomb secured the seventh through 11th slots.

Conference action begins on Saturday, Feb. 6 when FGCU hosts Stetson. The league’s nine eligible teams will compete for the six spots to the 2010 Atlantic Sun Championships – to be held in DeLand, Fla. from April 15-17. The Hatters host the conference championship for the sixth time in program history and have never once claimed a title.

Fans can follow the Atlantic Sun on Twitter and on Facebook. Visit twitter.com/AtlanticSun to begin receiving updates on conference news, weekly awards, and from A-Sun championships. Atlantic Sun followers with a Facebook account can become a "fan" of the conference by visiting facebook.com/AtlanticSunConference.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and 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.

2009-10 Atlantic Sun Men’s Tennis - Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Rank

School (First Place Votes)

Votes

1.

ETSU (8)

118

2.

USC Upstate (1)

102

 

Stetson (1)

102

4.

UNF (1)

88

5.

Belmont

73

6.

Campbell

72

7.

Mercer

44

8.

Jacksonville

41

9.

FGCU

38

10.

Kennesaw State

27

11.

Lipscomb

21

Tournament Champion: ETSU (7 votes)