GW Men's Tennis Set for Competitive 2013 Spring Slate
Reigning A-10 Champs to Face Seven Top-70 Opponents in Quest for Third Straight Conference Crown
Jan. 9, 2013
WASHINGTON – Coming off of its second straight Atlantic 10 Championship and second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the George Washington men’s tennis team has compiled a challenging 2013 spring schedule that features seven nationally-ranked opponents and three NCAA participants in 19 matches, seventh-year head coach and reigning A-10 Coach of the Year Greg Munoz announced.
“This is the toughest schedule we have played since I have been at GW and it’s going to make for a great season of competition,” said Munoz. “We want to be ranked in the top-75 in the country and to do that we have to prove we can beat some good teams.”
The Colonials put themselves in position to break into the national rankings as they will face seven opponents that were ranked on the first Campbell/Intercollegiate Tennis association (ITA) Division I National Singles Rankings release of the year. The reigning conference champions closed the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 17-8 and a 3-2 conference mark.
Having lost two players to graduation last spring in Richard Blumenfeld and Ugur Atalay – who was dubbed an A-10 All-Conference First Team honoree and team MVP – GW looks to fill the gaps with three highly touted newcomers – junior transfer Nikita Fomin, who is ranked the No. 96 player in the country by the ITA, and freshmen Kevin Kovacs and Danil Zelenkov. The Buff and Blue welcome back sophomores Francisco Dias and Mike Kachkar, juniors Viktor Svensson and Ulrik Thomsen and seniors Leonardo Lapentti and Alexander van Gils to the lineup. Dias – who is currently ranked No. 76 by the ITA – became the first A-10 men’s tennis student-athlete to be named both the league’s Rookie of the Year and the Player of the Year last season.
GW hosts five matches this spring, including three at the outdoor GW Tennis Center and one each at the indoor Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va., and the Regency Sport and Health Club in McClean, Va., which serve as the Colonials’ home courts during the winter months. The Colonials will also spend just over a week in California competing at the Calabasas Open in addition to competing in dual matches against No. 68 UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine.
Munoz’s squad opens its spring campaign on Jan. 26 as the Colonials welcome Cornell – which finished last season with a No. 70 national ranking – to the Army Navy Country Club for a 5:30 p.m. match. GW then hosts East Carolina at the Regency Sport and Health Club on Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. The Colonials’ first road test takes place in Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 8 with a 1 p.m. match against Old Dominion.
GW continues road competition on Cornell’s home courts for the three-day ECAC Division I Indoor Championships in Ithaca, N.Y. The tournament, which runs from Feb. 15-17, consists of GW and seven Ivy League teams in No. 48 Brown, No. 44 Columbia, host Cornell, No. 49 Dartmouth, No. 28 Harvard, No. 75 Princeton and Yale. Though the schedule has not been set, the Colonials will face three opponents and has the potential to face multiple nationally-ranked programs throughout the championship.
“We will have the opportunity to face a lot of strong competition at the ECAC Championship and we are looking forward to proving ourselves,” Munoz said. “The Ivy League is strong and it is a chance for us to show just how competitive we can be.”
The Colonials hit the road for five straight road matches before their West Coast swing over Spring Break. GW travels to Atlanta, Ga., to face two nationally-ranked opponents in as many days as the Buff and Blue compete against No. 53 South Alabama on Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. and No. 63 Georgia State at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24. GW faces its third straight top-65 competitor with a 2 p.m. match at No. 44 Columbia on March 1. The Colonials open conference play with back-to-back matches at Temple on March 2 at 5 p.m. and at Fordham on March 3 at 6 p.m.
From March 8-13 GW will compete in the Calabasas Open, a United States Tennis Association (USTA) Futures event, in Calabasas, Calif.
“This first-level tournament is a great opportunity for our players to gain status on a non-collegiate level while playing against really great competitors,” said Munoz. “Francisco and Danil both came to GW with Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings, but they don’t hold up when you compete strictly on the college level. At this event, our players are able to earn ATP points.”
Following the USTA event the Colonials drive an hour northwest to take on No. 68 UC Santa Barbara at 1:30 p.m. on March 14. The squad then heads to UC Irvine for a 1 p.m. match on March 16. GW returns to the East Coast to resume A-10 play on March 23 when the Colonials face the Spiders at 2 p.m. and match up with conference newcomer No. 31 VCU on March 24 at 1 p.m.
“One of the matches we're most looking forward to is against VCU,” Munoz said. “The Rams have a strong program and are the only ranked program in the league. It will be a tough match but this is when we show what GW is made of.”
The Colonials return home to host three straight matches at the GW Tennis Center on the Mount Vernon Campus, including its outdoor home opener on March 29 against James Madison at 1 p.m. GW welcomes local foe George Mason on March 30 at 1 p.m. and concludes home action with its April 6 Senior Day match against No. 57 St. John’s at 1 p.m.
The Buff and Blue close the regular season with a four-match road swing, beginning at District foe Georgetown on April 7 at 1 p.m. GW faces its final conference opponent of the regular season with a 12 p.m. match at Charlotte on April 12, and takes on Longwood in Radford, Va., at 10 a.m. on April 13. The Colonials’ regular-season finale is a 12 p.m. match at No. 75 Radford on April 14. Last season GW upset then-No. 73 Radford, 4-3, at home on Senior Day.
For the second straight year the Atlantic 10 Championship will be held at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, from April 25-28. The A-10 Men’s Tennis Championship is a single-elimination event and the winner of the championship will receive the conference’s automatic bid to compete in the NCAA Tournament. With the addition of VCU and Butler the championship will now seed a 14-team field.
“The A-10 is an extremely strong conference and coming away with a championship is an impressive feat,” said Munoz. “Despite winning two straight titles we don’t feel we have a target on our back. Teams will not only want to beat us, but they will be coming for programs like Charlotte, VCU and Xavier as well. This league is full of strong competition and it continues to get tougher every year.”