Jan. 25, 2013
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Atlantic 10 newcomer and men’s tennis powerhouse, VCU, has been picked to claim its first Men’s Tennis Championship title, as voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches.
The Rams, who made their 19th NCAA appearance in 21 years and are coming off a 2012 conference championship title, return four of seven starters from last year’s squad, including the duo of senior Max Wennakoski and junior Alexis Heugas. Wennakoski, who enters the spring season ranked No. 45 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the Rams, while Huegas made a doubles run to the Elite Eight in 2012 and earned ITA All-America doubles and conference Player of the Year honors. Jaime Vazquez and Junior Alejandro Argente round out the VCU squad with five freshmen that will compete for starting spots.
George Washington looks to earn its third straight A-10 title under reigning Coach of the Year, Greg Munoz. The Colonials enter the spring season with two singles players in the Top 100 ITA Rankings in sophomore Francisco Dias (No. 76) and junior transfer Nikita Fomin (No. 96). Dias swept the 2012 A-10 Conference awards, earning Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer after posting an 18-5 overall singles record, competing in the number one spot. Teammates and All-Conference selections Alexander van Gils and Ulrik Thomsen, who will most likely compete in the top doubles spot, posted a nine-match winning streak last season.
The 49ers, the top seed in last year’s tournament, have been predicted to finish third in the 2013 event. Charlotte returns four strong sophomores for the spring season, including first team All-Conference selections in Kamil Khalil, who went 13-1 overall, including a 9- 1 record from the number two singles spot, and Jack Williams who posted a 12-10 record as number one singles. Alex Callott and Paul Sisti both earned second team All-Conference selections for Charlotte.
Xavier is picked to finish fourth, followed by Richmond (fifth) and Temple (sixth). Fordham and Duquesne tied for the seventh spot, while Saint Louis finished ninth, followed by Saint Joseph’s (10th), Butler (11th), Dayton (12th), St. Bonaventure (13th) and La Salle (14th).
The 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Tennis Championship, a single-elimination event, will be held April 25-28 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
The Center is home to the USTA’s Western & Southern Financial Open, the largest professional summer tennis tournament in the nation outside of the US Open. The grounds are located approximately 20 miles north of Cincinnati and boast 16 hard surface, outdoor courts, including four permanent stadiums: Center Court (capacity: 11,435) and Grandstand Court (capacity: 5,000), along with the brand new Court #3 (capacity: 4,000), and Court #4 (capacity: 2,500).