JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 6, 2009) – For the first time in the storied history of the ETSU men’s tennis program the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) named a record six Buccaneer players to its annual preseason rankings, the ITA announced Wednesday.
Overall three Bucs were placed on the singles list, while ETSU earned two spots on the doubles rankings. In addition to the number of great individual’s accolades the Bucs moved up one spot from its final 2009 ITA team ranking, starting the season at No. 62.
Leading the way on the singles list is freshman Jesus Bandres (Caracas, Venezuela). The first-year Buc enters the season as the highest ranked ETSU freshman in school history at No. 51. This past fall Bandres posted a 4-4-0 record with wins over players from three ranked teams.
Joining Bandres on the singles rankings is juniors Grega Teraz (Mojstrana, Slovenia) and Charles Bottoni (Bois Guilaume, France). Teraz enters the season at No. 82, while classmate Bottoni starts the year at No. 89.
During the fall season Teraz posted a remarkable 7-2-0 mark with wins over individuals from three ranked teams, including No. 38 Boris Conkic of No. 8 Tennessee. Out of his three fall appearances Teraz willed his way to quarterfinal appearances at the UVA Fall Classic and the Wilson/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships -- while inclement weather forced a withdraw in his round of 16 match against No. 4 Guillermo Gomez of No. 43 Georgia Tech at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships.
Like his teammates Bottoni enters the spring after a strong fall campaign. The second-year Buc posted a 5-2-0 mark with wins over players from three ranked programs, which include No. 8 Tennessee, No. 17 Wake Forest and No. 52 Columbia.
“With so many guys ranked I look at this as a complete team effort,” said head coach Yaser Zaatini. “All our guys have worked so hard at every tournament and every day we’ve practiced. I know this is a great honor for each of these six players. That being said, everyone of our guys know that this spring is about one thing and that’s making back to the NCAA Tournament.”
Like the singles rankings ETSU continued to set a new record on the doubles list as the Bucs placed multiple teams on the preseason rankings for the first time in program history. Leading the way is the ETSU pair of senior Danny Isaza (Medellin, Colombia), and sophomore Ofir Weintraub (Rishon Le Zion, Israel), who begins the season at No. 39. Teammates sophomore Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) and Bandres enter the 2010 season at No. 52.
“As proud as I am of the on the court success, this year’s team has been a joy to be around and coach ever since the guys stepped on campus last August," said Zaatini. "As a coach I’m personally thankful for what wonderful student-athletes I have on this team. Academically, athletically and personally each of our players make me feel like I’m one of the luckiest coaches in Division I tennis.”
With the ITA rankings now out ETSU contiunes to prepare for its season opener January 16 at the Duke Invitational in Durham, N.C.
Attached above are the complete 2010 preseason rankings by the ITA. For more information on the reigning four-time Atlantic Sun Conference champion men’s tennis team, please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.