The University of New Orleans (1-0) men's tennis team will play host to two dual matches this week, as Nicholls State comes to town on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and Grambling follows suit Sunday at 12 p.m. A single road match in between the two home matches features the Privateer men facing Southern in Baton Rouge, La. on Friday at 1 p.m.
Both home matches, held at the University Tennis Center, represent the Privateer men's first home matches at the facility. Prior to playing at the UTC, the team played all of their home matches at City Park or the old University Courts, adjacent to Maestri Field.
THE 2009 PRIVATEERS: The Privateers enter this week's matches after making a statement in the school's first match back on the court since 2005, when they defeated No. 59 and reigning Sun Belt Conference champion South Alabama 5-2 on Sunday in Mobile, Ala.
UNO entered the match 0-10 against the Jaguars according to available information and had not defeated a ranked squad since topping No. 70 Denver on Feb. 21, 2004. The win was the lone victory over the weekend by an unranked squad over a team in the top 75.
Vinay Kamineni contributed right away in his first match for the Privateers. First, the native of Vizag, India teamed with Oliver Cuthill at No. 3 doubles to provide UNO with their lone victory of the three doubles matches. Then, he came back from a set down in No. 2 singles to defeat Romain Bocaert, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Calvin Kemp was also a big winner for the Privateers, defeating Marek Sramek in straight sets. Sramek, the reigning SBC Tournament MVP for his efforts in directing the Jaguars to their 18th conference crown last season, was ranked No. 107 at the end of last season. Other winners against USA included Ben Smith, Jose Gaspar and Cuthill.
UNO (1-0) vs NICHOLLS STATE (0-1)
THE 2009 COLONELS: Nicholls finished 13-8 overall a year ago with a 2-4 mark in Southland Conference play, which earned them a spot in the 2008 SLC tournament. Only one senior graduated from the squad that features four players with at least three years of collegiate tennis experience.
In their lone match of the year, Nicholls fell to USA 7-0 on Monday afternoon. The team score was not indicative of how competitive the matches were as four of the top five singles’ matches went three sets with the other of the top five seeing the Colonels’ Radu Ionescu fall in a close 7-6, 6-4 match to Sramek.
One player from the Colonels roster has already faced a member of the Privateers as UNO's Gaspar defeated Rohan Shetty 6-2, 6-1 in the round of 16 at the 2008 Ragin' Cajun Invite in September.
A familiar face to the Privateer tennis program serves as the head coach as Jim Hunter, with nearly 400 collegiate wins to his name, leads Nicholls. Hunter, who spent six years at UNO from 1998-2003, compiled a mark of 159-63 during his time on the Lakefront, coaching both the men’s and women’s teams to national rankings.
ALL-TIME SERIES: First meeting according to records available that date back to 1996
LAST MEETING: First Meeting
UNO (1-0, entering this week’s matches) vs SOUTHERN (0-0, entering the week)
THE 2009 JAGUARS: Last season, Southern under head coach Jeff Conyers made the NCAA tournament as winners of the SWAC conference tournament. The Jaguars, who fell to the University of Southern California in the opening round has been to the NCAA tournament four times in school history, with the most recent trip prior coming in 2004.
SU posted a 10-12 mark last season and posted an undefeated dual record in SWAC play. Marlon Gichie and Tyler Chin were both undefeated in singles’ play in the SWAC, posting 8-0 marks while Bino Rasedisa went 7-1.
Elvis Espinal and Chin were named to the All-SWAC Tournament team while Espinal was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Of the group, Espinal, Gichie and Rasedisa, all seniors return.
ALL-TIME SERIES: UNO leads 6-0, according to available records dating back to 1996.
LAST MEETING: UNO defeated Southern 7-0 on Mar. 14, 2004 in the team’s last meeting, held at City Park. Nicols Houard, who won at No. 1 singles led the Privateers, who swept the six singles match. Southern’s lone blemish to the UNO win was a victory at No. 1 doubles by Alex Hidalgo and David Ensignia over the team of Pierre Ros-Barbier and Erwan Rebuffe..
University of New Orleans 7, Southern 0
City Park (New Orleans, La), Mar. 14, 2004
No. 1 Nicolas Houard (UNO) def. David Ensignia 3-6, 6-3, 10-8
No. 2 Pierre Ros-Barbier (UNO) def. Alejandro Galindo 6-0, 6-1
No. 3 Erwan Rebuffe (UNO) def. Alex Hidalgo 6-4, 6-4
No. 4 Julien De La Mettrie (UNO) def. Michael Date 6-0, 4-6, 10-5
No. 5 Saif Ali (UNO) def. Christopher Williams 6-3, 6-0
No. 6 Gabriel Delarue (UNO) def. Paul DeRousselle 6-0, 6-2
No. 1 Hidalgo/Ensignia (SU) def. Ros-Barbier/Rebuffe 8-6
No. 2 De La Mettrie/Ali (UNO) def. Galindo/DeRousselle 8-2
No. 3 Delarue/Michal Kiszcyski (UNO) def. Date/Williams 8-5
UNO (1-0, entering this week’s matches) vs GRAMBLING (0-0, entering the week)
THE 2009 TIGERS: Last season, Grambling reached the semifinals of the 2008 SWAC tennis tournament, falling to in-state rival and top-seeded Southern. The Tigers advanced to the semifinals after defeating 2007 champion Alcorn State 4-3 in the opening round.
Grambling posted a 4-4 mark in SWAC play last year, led by Nicholas Rufyikiri, who posted a 7-1 mark in conference singles action. In doubles, Rufyikiri and partner Javier Castro logged a 6-2 record during the regular season. The team is coached by Kenneth Myers, who is now in his third season at the helm of his alma mater's program.
The Tigers will face Lamar on Saturday in Beaumont, Texas before facing the Privateers.
ALL-TIME SERIES: UNO leads 1-0 over Grambling according to available records since 1996.
LAST MEETING: UNO defeated Grambling on Apr. 12, 2005 by a score of 7-0. The match was held at City Park. Since 1996, UNO is undefeated against the SWAC, posting a 14-0 record against the conference. In addition to the 1-0 mark against Grambling, the Privateers are 6-0 against Southern, 5-0 against Texas Southern and 1-0 against both Alcorn State and Prairie View A&M.
COMING UP NEXT: The Privateers have a busy first week of February as they will play four opponents over a four-day stretch. Starting with a home match against Alcorn State on the Lakefront, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m., the UNO men will hop on a plane for three matches in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Texas. The Privateers will face UT-Dallas (Feb.6), UT-Arlington (Feb. 7) and SMU (Feb. 8).