Men's Tennis Opens 2014 Campaign this Weekend
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men’s tennis team will begin the 2014 dual-match season with a home contest against defending Big South Champion Coastal Carolina Friday, Jan. 17 at 1:30 at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center.
The Spartans finish the weekend with a trip to Raleigh to face No. 35 NC State at 10 a.m. at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.
“We are really excited coming off a pretty good year last year finishing 14-5,” said head coach Thomas Mozur. “We have the opportunity to have a very good season this year and it is always nice to get a home match in early. Coastal Carolina is a very good opponent after making the NCAA Tournament last year winning the Big South Championship.”
UNCG will return its entire lineup from a season ago that included a 14-5 record and a perfect 11-0 mark at home. Senior Ahmet Sarioglu (Ankera, Turkey/METU Development Foundation) returns at No. 1 singles where he was a first team All-SoCon performer. Sophomore James Dougherty (Melbourne, Australia) hopes to continue his success after making first team All-SoCon in doubles with teammate Randy Phillips (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood) and an All-Freshman team honoree. Phillips was a second team All-SoCon in singles after a perfect 13-0 record at No. 4 singles.
Other returners include senior Jimmy Roueche (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley), junior Cameron Smith (Jamestown, N.C./Ragsdale), sophomore Gaston Murray (Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista) and classmate Daniel Mack (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland). Newcomer Nazhone Wilkins (Burnsville, Minnesota/Home schooled) will hope to add depth to the Spartans in the spring.
Coastal Carolina is 0-1 after falling to Wake Forest, 9-0, in its first match of the season. The Chanticleers were 15-6 last season and won the Big South Tournament. The Spartans defeated Coastal Carolina, 5-2, last season at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center.
NC State comes into its first dual-match with a No. 35 national ranking and has two players ranked in the Top-100 of the ITA singles rankings. Austin Powell sits at No. 50 and Robbie Mudge is at No. 76 in the first singles rankings of the spring. In doubles, Nick Horton and Sean Weber are No. 19 in the nation.
“NC State is a great team I think they finished in the Top-5 of the ACC last year,” said Mozur. “They are currently No. 35 in the nation and on paper they are the toughest of our opponents for 2014. “The guys are excited we played a bunch of their players in the fall and we just need to bring our A game come Saturday.”
UNCG doesn’t return to the court until February when they host East Carolina Friday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. at the UNCG Tennis Courts.
Follow all the action about the 2013-14 UNCG men's tennis team on www.UNCGSpartans.com or on twitter @UNCGMTennis.