March 12, 2004
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HORNED FROGS' MATCH #12:
#7 TCU (11-0) at #51 Tulsa (8-6)
March 13, 2004 * Tulsa, Okla. * 1 p.m. CST
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
The undefeated and No. 7-ranked Horned Frogs will take to the road for their match with No. 51 Tulsa this Saturday at 1 p.m. CST. TCU hopes to be back in Tulsa in May, as the Golden Hurricane is hosting the 2004 NCAA Championships at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center over May 22-31. TCU has been absent from the event the past two years.
The Golden Hurricane is 8-6 this year with wins over UMKC (7-0), Southwest Missouri State (5-2), Oral Roberts (6-1), Dartmouth (5-2), Hampton (6-1), Drake (6-1), Bradley (7-0) and BYU (7-0). Tulsa's losses have come at the hands of Stanford (6-1), Tulane (4-3), Illinois (4-0), Texas A&M (4-0) and Texas (4-0 and 6-1). TU is 0-6 versus teams ranked 30th or better this year.
THE SERIES HISTORY
TCU owns a 7-3 record all-time against Tulsa. The Horned Frogs won last year's meeting by a 6-1 count in Fort Worth. Two years ago, the Frogs dropped a 5-2 decision to the Golden Hurricane. Before the loss, TCU had won three in a row. The Purple and White is 1-2 all-time when playing on the Golden Hurricane's home turf.
TCU is ranked seventh as a team. One Horned Frog, Alex Menichini, is ranked in the top-100 in singles in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's poll at No. 40. Hector Almada and Jacopo Tezza are rated 21st in doubles and Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini are ranked No. 36. Tulsa is 51st as a team and Dustin Taylor is its highest ranked player at No. 76. Alejandro Tejerina is right behind Taylor at No. 82. Tulsa does not have any ranked doubles teams.
TCU'S LAST TIME OUT
The fifth-rated TCU men's tennis squad claimed the Arizona State Quadrangle title Monday by defeating No. 18 Pepperdine 4-0 at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe. The Horned Frogs' 11-0 record ties the school record for the best start with the 1981 team. The Waves dropped to 8-5 with the loss. It was only TCU's fourth victory against Pepperdine in 16 tries. After losing the doubles point for the first time yesterday to No. 28 Washington, the Horned Frogs grinded out a couple of wins at Nos. 2 and 3 for the early 1-0 lead. Jacob Martin and Alex Menichini improved to 10-0 on the season at three doubles by defeating Kevin Borzenski and Richard Johnson, 8-2. Martin and Menichini are 11-0 overall. Hector Almada and Jacopo Tezza clinched the win by stunning the 16th-ranked duo of Scott Doerner and Alexandre Herrera at two by an 8-5 count. The No. 1 spot belonged to the Waves' Calle Hansen and Pedro Rico, who are ranked No. 11. They defeated TCU's 10th-rated tandem of Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini, 8-4. Tezza provided TCU's first victory in singles by downing Doerner at the No. 4 slot by scores of 6-4, 6-3 to run his record on the year to 19-6. He is also 9-1 in dual matches. Sestini continued his outstanding singles play by taking out Herrera in staight sets, 7-6, 6-4, for his seventh win in a row. He is now 10-1 in duals and 16-5 overall. The clincher was provided by Martin at six singles, where he needed three sets to dispose of Johnson, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
Jacopo Tezza and Fabrizio Sestini have been winning a lot of matches for TCU lately. Tezza has won his last five and Sestini has seven straight victories. Jacob Martin has been experiencing a great deal of success as well, winning his last four decisions. Rafael Abreu and Hector Almada have won three in a row as well. In doubles, Martin and Alex Menichini are still perfect on the season with an 11-0 record. They have gone 10-0 at No. 3 doubles.
BACK TO OUR OLD FORM
The TCU men's tennis team ascended back into the nation's top-10 Feb. 24 coming in tied for sixth with Stanford. The following week, TCU returned to the top-5 at fifth. The No. 5 rating was the highest for TCU since the 2001 campaign when the Horned Frogs spent the entire year ranked in the top-10 and were as high as No. 2. They reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championships and finished 2001 rated fifth. Individually, senior Alex Menichini cracked the top-25 in singles at No. 22. He was the highest ranked player for TCU since Esteban Carril, who starred for the Purple and White from 1997-2001. Carril's best ranking was fourth during his senior year. Sophomore Rafael Abreu and junior Fabrizio Sestini came in at No. 10 in doubles, giving the Horned Frogs their first top-10 duo since Ashley Fisher and Jason Weir-Smith in 1997.
WE'RE MONEY AT THESE TWO
The Horned Frogs have been unbeatable so far at two singles positions. At No. 4, Jacopo Tezza has gone 9-0 and Rafael Abreu is 1-0. Jacob Martin has seven wins at six singles and Robert Gallman has accounted for the other two.
RESTORING DOUBLES DOMINANCE
TCU has historically experienced a great deal of success in doubles, but the last two years have been a little bit of a struggle. This season, the Horned Frogs have returned to their old form and are 25-6 in dual matches. They have only dropped one doubles point this season. Two years ago, TCU was a mere 25-40 in doubles and last season the Frogs went 37-31. The biggest win this year came when Rafael Abreu and Fabrizio Sestini topped Texas A&M's tandem of Lester Cook and Ante Matijevic, 8-4. Cook and Matijevic were the No. 1-rated duo in the nation at the time. The win was critical, as it allowed TCU to win the doubles point, which proved to be the difference in the match.
WHAT A START
By knocking off No. 18 Pepperdine March 8, the Horned Frogs moved their record to 11-0, tying the 1981 squad for the best start in school history. The school record for longest winning streak is 16 matches coming in 1989 when TCU made its first appearance in the NCAA Final Four. Should TCU defeat Tulsa, it would tie the 1988 team for the second-longest winning streak at 12 matches.
SOME NEW FACES
The Horned Frogs snagged a couple of new faces for the spring with the additions of Hector Almada and Tobias Virdhage. Almada played two seasons at Fresno State and one at Fresno City College prior to coming to Cowtown. He entered last fall ranked No. 6 in doubles and was 76th in singles. Virdhage, a native of Sweden, is a three-time Swedish national champion and boasts victories over some of the top players in the world, such as Daniel Klemetz, formerly of Middle Tennessee State. Klemetz won the 2002 ITA All-American Championships.
REPRESENTING THE WORLD
TCU's roster this season has six different countries represented. Besides the United States, the Horned Frogs have players from Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and Venezuela. The Frogs' Americans are senior Alex Menichini and freshmen Robert Gallman, Collin Hart, Craig Stopa, and Andrew Ulrich. Two Italians don the purple and white with juniors Fabrizio Sestini and Jacopo Tezza. The lone Mexican is senior Hector Almada and junior Jacob Martin hails from Spain. Freshman Tobias Virdhage is TCU's Swedish player and sophomore Rafael Abreu is Venezuelan.
Last fall, TCU cleaned up on the Conference USA monthly tennis award. For September, the recognition was given to Alex Menichini for reaching the semifinals of the Baylor Intercollegiates. He won three matches during the tourney and defeated one ranked player in Baylor's Matija Zgaga. He fell in the semis to the nation's then-No. 1 Benedikt Dorsch, also from Baylor. Fabrizio Sestini was awarded the accolade for October after he reached the quarters of the Midland Open and the ITA South Central Regional Championships. He also teamed up with Rafael Abreu to win the doubles title at the ITA Regional, allowing them to become the first TCUers to qualify for the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships since 1997. Menichini took home some more praise from C-USA when he was tabbed Athlete of the Week after TCU upended UTA and Colorado. He went 2-0 at one singles and three doubles with Jacob Martin that week. One week after Menichini got the award, Rafael Abreu took home the prize for TCU after winning critical matches against Texas A&M and Florida State. Jacopo Tezza became TCU's third winner of the weekly accolade when he helped TCU defeat SMU, Washington and Pepperdine.
BOTH ALMA MATERS GO DOWN
Assistant Coach Cory Hubbard saw the TCUers down his alma mater Texas A&M Feb. 15 in Fort Worth, 4-3. Hubbard graduated from A&M in December 2000 with a degree in marketing after playing for the Aggies from 1996-2000. He was also a volunteer coach for A&M for a year. Head Coach Joey Rivé escaped with a 4-3 victoy over Florida State Feb. 22, allowing the coaching staff to go undefeated this year against its alma maters. Rivé is a 1993 graduate of FSU with a Bachelor's degree in psychology. He is considered one of the great Seminoles in school history and was inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame in 1999. He won 74 singles and 47 doubles matches during his time with FSU. His 33 singles victories in 1983 is still the second-most for a single season in school history. Rivé was also an assistant coach for the Seminoles for a year when he returned to finish his degree after playing on the ATP Tour.
A RICH NCAA HISTORY
The Horned Frogs have a rich tradition of excellence in the NCAA Tournament. TCU has made 18 appearances in the event since the current team format was adopted in 1977. TCU has been in every tourney since 1991 and made 16 of the past 17 NCAAs. The Purple and White owns a record of 23-18 in the tournament and has made three appearances (1989, 1996, 2001) in the national semifinals. TCU has also reached at least the NCAA quarterfinals on seven occasions (1982, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001). In the individual championships, TCU had a string of 27 consecutive appearances from 1975 to 2001. During that span, TCU won one doubles title, coming in 1981 with Karl Richter and David Pate. In 1996, Ashley Fisher and Jason Weir-Smith finished as the runner-ups. Several Horned Frogs reached the round of 16 in singles, but Esteban Carril is the only one to advance to the quarterfinals. Carril made his run his sophomore year in 1999.
NEW TEAM BUILDING DEDICATED
The new TCU Tennis Team Building was dedicated Jan. 30, 2004. The latest addition to TCU's assortment of facilities houses the men's and women's coaching staffs and provides locker rooms for the men and women. Other amenities in the complex include a spacious lounge area with a big screen television, a laundry and equipment room, a computer workstation for student-athletes and a racket stringing area. The building cost about $700,000 to construct and was finished last December after breaking ground in June.
TCU ADDS LIVE MATCH SCORING
TCU offers fans something new this season with the addition of live match scoring via the Internet. It is featured on the official Web site of TCU athletics, www.GoFrogs.com. Updates from the match are given periodically as the players progress and the order of finish, along with match notes, are also available on the page.
ABOUT THE ITA RANKINGS
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association's team rankings are released on a weekly basis every Tuesday afternoon. The individual rankings for singles and doubles are released biweekly. The team rankings are determined by a vote of the ITA National Rankings Committee until March 23. On that date, rankings will be calculated using a computer formula. On April 6, the singles rankings will expand from a top-100 to a top-125. The doubles will go from a top-50 to a top-60. The final rankings for the season will be released June 4.