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Tiger Tennis Opens Season In Texas
Wednesday, 01/14/2009
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University of Memphis Team Page

The Memphis men's tennis team led by Head Coach Paul Goebel and the 102nd-rated singles player in the nation, Jorge Vazquez, will set off for Houston, Texas, this weekend as they prepare to open the 2009 spring dual season with matches against No. 24 Rice and Prairie View A&M.

The Tigers and Owls will begin play at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium on the campus of Rice at 12:30 p.m. Rice is led by Bruno Rosa, who is currently ranked as the No. 26 singles player in the nation. Rosa finished the 2008 season with a record of 18-7. The Owls lineup also boasts freshman Sam Garforth-Bles, the 61st-best singles player in the nation. In doubles, the 51st-ranked Rice tandem of Tobias Scheil and Rosa will look to mirror their success from the fall. The duo defeated Texas A&M's 45th-ranked tandem of Chris Chirico and Will Spencer at the Wilson/ITA South Central Regional Championships.

Memphis will follow their dual with the Owls with a match-up against the Prairie View A&M Panthers on Saturday at 10 a.m., at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium in Houston. The match will mark the first time the Tigers and Panthers have faced each other in recent history. The Panthers are coming off of a 2008 season which saw them go 3-11 while participating in the Southwest Athletic Conference. PVAMU is coached by John Cochran and returns five letterwinners from last season's Panther squad.

The Tigers are led by Vazquez, a senior from La Coruna, Spain, who is entering his first season with the U of M men's tennis squad after sitting out last season due to transfer rules following a two-year stint at Tyler Junior College in Texas. Vazquez upended 23rd-ranked Roy Kalmanovich of Illinois last weekend at the 2009 USF Winter Invitational in Tampa, Fla., 6-4, 7-5. He also teamed with Charlie Ramsay, a junior from Chattanooga, Tenn., to put up a fight against South Florida's 15th-ranked doubles tandem of Lucas Jovita and Thomas Estrada. Vazquez and Ramsay fell to Jovita and Estrada, 8-6.

The Memphis squad enters the 2009 season with a line-up that includes two seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen. The Tigers will also welcome the addition of transfer Michael Hayes, who will begin school next week after arriving from England. Memphis will look to build on an up and down season in 2008 with a team that returns all but two members to the fold in 2009. The U of M will have to do it while facing some stiff competition. The 2009 schedule includes nine teams that were ranked in the ITA polls at some point last season and five that are currently rated.

The Tigers dual schedule will continue with home matches against Morehead State, Southeastern Louisiana and Murray State on the weekend of Jan. 29. The matches will be played at Wellworx Sporting Club in East Memphis.