April 20, 2005
NEW ORLEANS, La. - After another strong regular season, the Tulane men's tennis team is preparing for the postseason once again. With an 18-5 record and the No. 19 ranking in the nation, the Green Wave has earned the top seed in the 2005 Conference USA Men's Tennis Championship which begins Thursday at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center and is hosted by the University of Louisville.
Tulane is the two-time defending champion in Conference USA and has won the league championship four times in the last eight years. The winner of the league championship receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament while the non-winners can be selected via at-large bids. Tulane has made eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
As the top seed, the Green Wave will play at 1 p.m. (Central) on Friday against the winner of Thursday's match between No. 7 DePaul and No. 10 East Carolina. With a win on Friday, the Wave would advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Championship match is scheduled for Sunday at 10 a.m.
"Our goal is to win the tournament," Tulane coach Robert Klein said. "But the depth in this league keeps getting better, so it won't be easy. We need to play with the intensity and effort that we have shown throughout the season. We need to perform and execute and play the way we are capable of playing. If we do those things, I'll settle for the results."
The top four seeds in the tournament receive first round byes. The No. 2 seed is 42nd-ranked TCU, which has made two straight appearances in the C-USA final. Host and 34th-ranked Louisville, which has won eight of its last nine matches, earned the No. 3 seed. Memphis, which is ranked No. 74 in the country, is No. 4 followed by UAB at five, USF at six, DePaul at seven and Southern Miss at eight. Rounding out the championship bracket are ninth-seed Charlotte, No. 10 East Carolina, No. 11 Marquette and No. 12 Saint Louis.
Tulane has just two upperclassmen on the roster, but both senior Dmitriy Koch and junior Jacobo Hernandez are key contributors. Koch has played No. 1 all season and is currently playing his best tennis of the year with only one loss in his last seven matches. Hernandez has a 15-5 record in singles this year, including 11-4 at No. 3.
A talented sophomore class has also been strong for the Wave this season as David Goulet, Ted Angelinos and Alberto Sottocorno have combined to win 42 matches. Goulet has a 14-7 mark while playing the bulk of his time at No. 2, while Angelinos is 12-4. Sottocorno leads the team in singles victories with 16, opposite just three losses.
Freshman Jonah Kane-West rounds out the Green Wave lineup with 10 victories, primarily from the No. 6 position.
"We have relied on team performance all year," Klein said. "We have been getting points from everywhere in the lineup. We showed that at the Blue-Gray tournament, if everyone battles for points, we are a tough team. Our reserves need to be ready as well, they may not have seen much action this year, but with the potential for three matches in three days, late in the season, you never know when one of them will need to stop in and perform."
The Blue-Gray Classic was the highlight of the season thus far for the Green Wave. In its 10th trip to the prestigious event in Montgomery, Ala., Tulane picked up its first title as it defeated four ranked opponents in four days in mid-March.
If Tulane qualifies for the NCAA Tournament, the Regional Tournaments will be held the weekend of May 13th on campus sites. There are 16 Regional Tournaments with four teams at each site.
2005 C-USA Men's Tennis Championship Schedule of Events
Thursday, April 21
(8) Southern Miss vs. (9) Charlotte, 7 a.m.
(5) UAB vs. (12) Saint Louis, 10 a.m.
(6) USF vs. (11) Marquette, 1 p.m.
(7) DePaul vs. (10) East Carolina, 4 p.m.
Friday, April 22
(3) Louisville vs. SLU/UAB, 7 a.m.
(2) TCU vs. CHA/USM, 10 a.m.
(1) Tulane vs. DPU/ECU, 1 p.m.
(4) Memphis vs. USF/MAR, 4 p.m.
Ninth Place Consolation
Match 1 Loser vs. Match 2 Loser, 8 a.m.
Match 3 Loser vs. Match 4 Loser, 11 a.m.
Saturday, April 23
Semifinal 1, 8 a.m.
Semifinal 2, 11 a.m.
Ninth Place Match, 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 24
Championship Match, 10 a.m.
All Times Central