ETSU men's tennis does it again; Olivares makes history by winning the 41st annual Southern Intercollegiate Championship
Olivares and Ahlgren
Olivares and Ahlgren

Monday, September 22, 2008

 

 

ATHENS, Ga. (September 22, 2008) - After four draining days of the toughest competition a NCAA men's tennis player could face, senior Enrique Olivares (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) stood atop all 179 participants at the 41st annual Southern Intercollegiate Championships, hosted Monday by two-time defending NCAA champion Georgia.

 

In a tournament which featured 16 nationally ranked players and two Division II top-10 participants, the 31st ranked Olivares battled through an exceptional field of singles competition, showing why he earned the highest ITA preseason player ranking in ETSU history earlier this month.

 

By defeating 39th-ranked Reid Carleton of Duke in the semifinals on Sunday, 19th-ranked Bruno Agostinelli of Kentucky became the valiant opponent for Olivares in the finals.

 

After a full weekend of pressure packed tennis, the finals lived up to every bit of the hype. In the first set, the Kentucky captain took an early lead, 3-6. However, when it looked like Olivares was down and out, the 2007 ITA All-American dug deep showing his determination and character. With the score being in favor of Agostinelli 3-1, Olivares clawed back to take the second set tiebreaker, 7-6. Then with momentum on his side, the three-time All-Atlantic Sun member claimed ETSU's first Southern Intercollegiate title, winning the final set 6-1.

 

"Wow what a match," said head coach Yaser Zaatini. "Watching Enrique fight like he did against an amazing player like Bruno, was something special. Enrique along with Alex (Ahlgren) got done playing doubles last night around eight. That capped off three consecutive days of tough matches for him. I know being tired affected him early this morning; however, I think Enrique did a great job taking one point at a time and using the emotion of this match to propel him during the comeback. Georgia hosted 32 of the best teams in the country to play in this tournament. For Enrique to accomplish what he did Monday proves he's one of the top level players in the nation."

 

With the win Olivares adds to what is already a storied career at ETSU. The reigning A-Sun Player of the Year and two-time conference tournament MVP also earned ETSU Male Student-Athlete of the Year honors just a year ago.  

 

With all those great awards Olivares now sits among the ETSU tennis greats coached by Zaatini and former coach and current athletic director Dave Mullins.

 

"I've watched Enrique have his ups and downs early in his career, but to see him come into the accomplished tennis player like he is today is something truly remarkable," said Zaatini. "To achieve the things he did in this tournament and his career takes a lot of hard work and determination. I played in the Southern Intercollegiate and I know how tough this tournament can be on a player. Again Enrique, like he has so many times, proved why he's among the great champions that played here at ETSU. Hopefully, he can continue this high level of play as we move forward the remainder of the season."

 

In doubles action Olivares, along with fellow senior teammate Alex Ahlgren (Tyreso, Sweden), also made the finals, ironically against the top seeded and 15th ranked Kentucky's team of Agostinelli and Brad Cox. With the match going back and forth early, the Wildcats' duo took the lead 3-2, and went on to win the championship, 8-5.

 

This ended a remarkable run for the Bucs, in which Olivares and Ahlgren defeated the fifth seeded Duke team of Arnould and Wietoska, 8-3, in the quarterfinals and Middle Tennessee's Peers and Cowden in the semis. In the end, the dominant Buccaneer duo outlasted five ITA preseason ranked doubles teams.

 

Attached is the final bracket with results. For more information on the men's tennis team please visit www.ETSUBUCS.com.

 

 

Division         Round        Result

I                       FNALS       (4) Enrique Olivares (ETSU-31) def. (2) Bruno Agostinelli (Kentucky-19), 3-6, 7-6, 6-1

I                       FINALS     (1) Bruno Agostinelli/Brad Cox (Kentucky-15) def. Enrique Olivares/Alex Ahlgren (ETSU), 8-5

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