Eagle Men’s Tennis Opens Season at Mercer on Saturday
STATESBORO, Ga. -- After a great fall, the Georgia Southern Men’s Tennis team is hungry for more and the quest to continue wining begins this Saturday, Jan. 26 in in Macon, Ga. Third year Head Coach Nick Zieziula and the Eagles travel to Mercer for a 2 p.m. match up to kick off the 2013 campaign.
An eventful spring 2012 was highlighted by the Eagles’ rally from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Wofford in the first round of the Southern Conference Championship. The win sent them into the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time since 2009 and marked their first victory in the tournament since 2008.
The Eagles have been growing since and the 2012 fall season became one to remember. Freshmen were able to get good match experiences with Rayan Djouad (Rilleux-la-Pape, France) leading the way and finishing with an 8-2 singles ledger. The Eagles were also able to build confidence for the spring when six players competed at the ITA Regionals, being competitive in every match.
Unique about the Eagle lineup this year is the amount of capable players they have. Being able to count on 12 game-ready players has given the Eagles advantages in depth as well as competiveness as they are able to face different games styles daily at practice.
“I never wanted to have a roster this size but it has worked out excellent. It was not my original plan but the guys did a great job managing themselves this fall,” said Zieziula. “From one through 12, all those levels are very high so they don’t have easy matches in practice and that’s critical for us being ready on game day.”
Thanks to that deep roster, the Eagles have been preparing for matches differently than previous years. The main focus of preseason has been to engage in match play right off the bat, making every practice comparable to match days.
The 2013 Eagle squad is led by seniors Matthijs Verdam (Hilversum, The Netherlands) and Ball State transfer Alex Doherty (Marietta, Ga.).
“Matthijs is hungry to get back after a disappointing year last year with some injuries and he wants get back to the year he had as a sophomore,” said Zieziula. “It’s also interesting having Alex Doherty transfer from Ball State. He brings a lot of different experiences and big match experiences to the team and that helps a lot,” Zieziula continued.
However, with seven other returners including sophomores Andrew Dromsky (Martinez, Ga.), Kyle Hoffman (Sarasota, Fla.), Albert Codina Sala (Manresa, Spain) and Daniel Rush (Orange Park, Fla.), in addition to juniors Marco Osorio (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) and Oliver Webb (London England), leadership has been equally spread.
“We haven’t relied on one person. That’s what I like about this group is they don’t look at just one person to provide the leadership. Everybody takes it upon themselves to help out with things,” said Zieziula.
Dromsky lead the Eagles on the court last year with a 13-9 doubles record while mainly playing the number one position. He also finished with an 8-13 singles record, including a 3-1 ledger at the number two spot.
According to Zieziula, the last ingredient to success this season will be to treat every practice and weight session like it is the last and focus on each day individually all in preparation of the SoCon Championships in April.
“Our main goal has been to each day put in a championship effort so we will play our best tennis in April. One thing we have talked about is that there’s no lack of talent on this team and that it’ll just be a question of how much we want to push ourselves to get better. We don’t have anybody on the schedule that we can’t beat but we have to make sure we take care of things day by day,” he concluded.
The Eagles finished out the 2012 campaign with a 3-20 record (1-9 SoCon), beating Mercer in their season opener at home.
Georgia Southern Athletics provides up-to-date information on all its sports through its official website, GSEagles.com, through social media channels facebook.com/GSAthletics and twitter.com/GSAthletics, and its new "Eagles GATA" mobile app for Android and iOS.
- Category: Men's Tennis
- Published on Friday, 25 January 2013 12:17