ETSU men's tennis prepares for opening round of NCAA Championships against Alabama

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

JOHNSON CITY , Tenn. (May 9, 2007) - The No. 51 ETSU men's tennis team (23-4, 11-0 A-Sun) is set for its fifth appearance in the NCAA team tournament, where the Bucs will face yet another SEC foe in 17th-ranked Alabama (20-7,8-5 SEC) in the opening round Friday. The two teams will face each other in regional action beginning at 1 p.m. at the Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, N.C.

 

The Bucs are led by sophomore Enrique Olivares (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela), who is 28-10 this season playing primarily at the No. 2 singles position. Juniors Predrag Burmazovic (Belgrade, Serbia), Lisandro Picardo (Mar del Plata, Argentina), and Sebastian Serrano (Cartagena, Colombia) will also help guide ETSU. Serrano has been a strong force going 30-7 in singles play and 27-7 in doubles. Senior Felix Insaurralde (Asuncion, Paraguay), who has been playing at the Nos. 3 and 4 positions, went undefeated in conference action with an 8-0 record. Competing mainly in the sixth position, sophomore Alex Ahlgren (Tyreso, Sweden) compiled a 25-5 record adding depth to the lineup.

 

In doubles, ETSU has been dominant throughout the season and looks for that trend to continue. Serrano and Olivares have been a formidable duo notching a 41-7 record over the last two seasons. They have knocked off opponents from then No. 31 MTSU, No. 33 Tennessee, and No. 53 Drake. The duo was also undefeated in conference play for the second straight year. Ahlgren and Travis Sandlant have also been a forceful presence for the Bucs with a 17-8 overall record competing primarily in the No. 1 slot, while Picardo and newcomer Daniel Isaza (Medellin, Colombia) compiled an 8-0 record during the spring in the third position.

 

This marks the fifth time the Bucs have competed in the NCAA Championships, the third time in four years they have qualified, and it is the fourth time they have faced an SEC opponent. Their last appearance came in 2005, where the Bucs fell, 4-0 to 14th-ranked Tennessee in the first round. Other past opponents include TCU, Auburn, and Kentucky.

 

The Crimson Tide is led by senior Joseph Jung and junior Billy Mertz. Jung ended the season with a 19-21 record and is ranked No. 88 in the latest ITA poll. Mertz finished the season 26-9 and is ranked 71st nationally. This will be Alabama's 13th NCAA appearance.

 

The winner of the ETSU-Alabama match will advance to Saturday's second round match-up against the winner of the Duke-UMBC match. Follow the Bucs by visiting Duke's live scoring page and check www.ETSUBucs.com for updates at the end of each days play.

 

 

Tournament Schedule
Friday, May 11
10 a.m. Duke vs. UMBC
1 p.m. Alabama vs. ETSU

Saturday, May 12
11 a.m. Winner of 10 a.m. match vs. Winner of 1 p.m. match

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