Dec. 14, 2001
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Tulane University sophomore Michael Kogan (Kfar-Saba, Israel) is the No. 4 player in the nation according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Associations's Fall Rankings. Kogan had been ranked No. 15 in the preseason rankings.
In addition, junior Victor Romero (Atizapan, Mexico) is ranked No. 33 in the nation. He was ranked No. 55 in the nation in the preseason.
"It is a great honor for our team to have two players ranked this high," said Tulane head coach Robert Klein. "However, it is an honor of which they are both very deserving. We have two of the best players in the nation right here at Tulane."
Kogan posted a 16-4 record this past fall, including wins over seven nationally-ranked opponents. For his career, the Wave All-American is a formidable 48-10.
"I was happy [to learn of the ranking]," Kogan said. "But I am not satisfied. That will be if I make it to No. 1. I knew that I played well this fall, so I am not surprised.
"This fall gave me a lot of confidence," Kogan continued. "If I go on the court, my goal is to win."
Romero gives the Green Wave a second powerful player. The junior was injured for the first half of the fall season, but recovered to post a 7-4 record, including wins over three ranked foes, one of those his teammate, Kogan. For his career, Romero is 26-7.
Kogan and Romero will pair up in doubles action for the Wave this year. Due to Romero's injury, they played only three fall matches, winning them all. However, the limited matches dropped them from a preseason No. 19 ranking to No. 22 in the current rankings.
Kogan and the now-graduated Mikko Viljanen closed last season ranked No. 6 in doubles play. Kogan believes he and Romero can duplicate that success.
"Mikko and I played so many matches in the fall last year, that we built a lot of confidence going into the spring," Kogan said. "Vic and I did not play that many. It will be more difficult because the pressure will be on us to win immediately. But I think we can handle the pressure."
Last year as a team, Tulane won the Conference USA Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row, upsetting No. 29 Baylor in the first round. The Wave's final national ranking was No. 34.
"We have a strong team once again this year," Klein said. "Michael and Vic can both be very effective in either the No. 1 or No. 2 spots. The next four spots for January are up in the air with Jorge Lievano, Hannu Piiroinen, Goran Vasiljevic and Mattias Westerberg. All four of those guys gained a lot of experience last year and this fall."
"This year, we should have a really good team again," Kogan added. "If everybody plays the way they should, we could be great."
Tulane opens the spring season on January 26 on the road against Oklahoma State. The Wave follows that with a road match at Tulsa on Jan. 27. Tulane's home opener will be Feb. 16 against Wichita State.