MALIBU, Calif. – The Pepperdine men’s tennis team landed three top-notch recruits as head coach Adam Steinberg announced the signing of Alex Giannini, Stefan Menichella and Alex Solonin to national letters-of-intent.
“I’m very excited to add three accomplished, talented Southern California junior players to the team,” said Steinberg of his newcomers. “This is the first time since I started here that we have signed three local players, so I’m especially excited about this year’s recruiting class.
“All three are just amazing guys, not just as players but as young men. I feel each one of them has a good understanding of our program and how Waves play and I expect them to make a positive impact right away.”
Giannini (Los Angeles, Calif./Gorman Learning Center), standing at 6-foot-4, is a five-star recruit according to tennisrecruiting.net and was ranked as high as #57 in singles. In the USTA Boys’ 16 division, Giannini was ranked in the top 50 nationwide, and top-15 in Southern California.
Now, in the 18 division, he is ranked in the top-eight in the area and top 120 in the nation.
Giannini is also an accomplished doubles player, and has won several national titles. He reached the finals of the Midland, Texas USTA National Open in May of 2012 and also competed in the renowned Orange Bowl junior tournament.
“I chose Pepperdine because the campus is beautiful, I believe Pepperdine can make me into a better tennis player and I will get a great education. I also feel the coaching staff is incredible,” said Giannini.
Another local standout, Menichella (Irvine, Calif./University HS), will join the Waves in the fall of 2013. Menichella, classified as a top-tier blue chip recruit, reached as high as #14 in the tennisrecruiting.net rankings for the class of 2013 and is currently listed at #21.
As a prep school student-athlete Menichella, who towers a 6-5, enters his senior season as a three-time Pacific Coast League first team selection. He led University High School to three CIF Division I titles, and was voted to the 2012 National High School All-American team.
In the USTA circuit, Menichella won the singles title at the USTA National Open (18-and-under) in Grand Rapids, Mich. As the No. 6 seed, he cruised through five rounds without dropping a single set en route to the championship crown.
Other singles titles in the 18-and-under division include the Tucson Regional Tournament and the Los Caballeros Designated Tournament.
In doubles, Menichella has teamed up with Giannini on several occasions and has enjoyed tremendous success. The pair won Anaheim Designated Tournament in the 18s division and were also crowned champions at the Lakewood National Open (16s).
Away from competition, Menichella is very active in his community. He is currently a volunteer tennis instructor for autistic athletes at No Limitz.
Says Menichella: “I chose Pepperdine primarily because of its stellar academics, especially in business, and its top tennis program. I believe that Coach Steinberg’s leadership will help me maximize my potential.”
Solonin (Tarzana, Calif./Thousand Oaks HS) comes to Pepperdine from nearby Thousand Oaks High School, but was born in Kiev, Ukraine.
Another exceptionally tall player at 6-5, Solonin has been ranked as high as #86 on tennisrecruiting.net and is currently the #32-ranked player in the state of California. He boasts several wins over blue chip and five-star recruits.
Solonin was the California Bowl Champion in the 14s age division, and has reached the final rounds of several distinguished tournaments in Santa Barbara, San Diego and Los Caballeros.
He comes from a family of athletes, as his father, Eugene, was a junior Olympic swimmer who enjoyed a No. 1 ranking in Ukraine. Anna, his mother, played college tennis in Ukraine as well.
“I chose Pepperdine because I feel like they have the best tennis program and coaching staff in the country. The campus is beautiful and the school has a good academic reputation. I feel like this school was the best fit for me,” said Solonin.
The Waves have a long-standing tradition of success, and most recently reached the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA team championships. Pepperdine begins its 2013 dual campaign on January 20 at home against Pacific.