MEMPHIS - - The University of Memphis men's tennis team capped their impressive 2013 season with the program's highest-ever national ranking, finishing the year as the No. 20 ranked team in the country in the ITA Rankings released Tuesday. The year-end singles and doubles rankings will be released on June 5th.
The appearance in the top 20 surpasses the Tigers' previous highest-ever ranking of 31. The team's first-ever appearance in the top 20 adds to what was an illustrious season for the Tiger men's tennis program. In 2013, the team won its first-ever C-USA Championship, made its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time in school history. Without a single senior on the 2013 roster, Memphis could return every player from this year's team to the squad next season, the program's first in the new American Athletic Conference.
Individually, sophomore Connor Glennon became the program's first-ever C-USA Player of the Year and Joe Salisbury became just the second Tiger to be named to the C-USA All-Academic team. Head Coach Paul Goebel also grabbed his second consecutive C-USA Coach of the Year award as part of a windfall of post-season honors for the Tigers. Memphis captured nine post-season awards in that crush of awards, including all-conference singles honors for Glennon, Salisbury and Johnny Grimal and doubles team honors for the top two doubles tandems (Salisbury/David O'Hare and Glennon/Cedric De Zutter).
Memphis finished the season with a 16-8 overall record and won nine of its final 10 matches, including a 4-2 win over No. 7 Ole Miss on the road in Oxford to advance to the NCAA Round of 16. In all, Memphis faced 18 ranked opponents, and picked up wins over four top 25 ranked opponents (Cornell, VCU, Tulsa, Ole Miss).
In NCAA tournament play, the No. 1 doubles team of Salisbury and O'Hare were 3-0, picking up wins over the No. 3 ranked doubles team in the country (Nik Scholtz/Jonas Lutjen of Ole Miss) and the No. 43 ranked team from Pepperdine (Sebastian Fanselow/Francis Alcantara). O'Hare also went unbeaten in NCAA tournament singles play, picking up wins at No. 6 singles in the win over Ole Miss and in the loss to Pepperdine in the round of 16 to complete his unblemished NCAA run. Fellow junior Johnny Grimal also went unbeaten in singles play during NCAA tournament play, picking up wins over opponents from BYU and Ole Miss, and coming back and leading in the third set in the match against Pepperdine before the team result was decided.
The Tigers will be the highest-ranked team heading into the 2013-14 season in the new American Athletic Conference. Memphis (No. 20), Louisville (No. 47) and USF (No. 74) are the three members of the new league that finished this season among the top 75 in the country.