Men's Tennis Opens With Bulldog Doubleheader
Jan. 13, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State men’s tennis team, with all six singles starters returning from last year, opens its 2012 spring season on Saturday at the Isenhour Tennis Complex with a pair of dual matches.
State will host Gardner-Webb at 10 a.m., followed by a 2 p.m. meeting with UNC Asheville. A previously scheduled match against The Citadel has been canceled by the Bulldogs’ new coaching staff.
The Wolfpack, ranked No. 59 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s first poll of the season, was 10-14 and finished with a final ITA ranking of No. 59 at the end of last season.
Head coach Jon Choboy, entering his 10th season with the Wolfpack, is eager to see how his team will build on its successful fall tournament season, which was played without two-time All-ACC selection Jaime Pulgar.
“We had some success in the fall and hope that carries over in the spring,” Choboy said. “We have had strong competition for spots in our lineup and that always makes the team better.”
Pulgar spent the fall playing on the ITF Futures Tour in his native Kuwait, India and his native Spain. He returned to campus in January after winning four doubles titles with two different partners and posting a 9-19 record in singles competition against some of world’s top young talent.
Choboy believes that experience will be invaluable for the senior lefthander as he goes against the ACC’s top players. Pulgar posted a 17-11 overall record last season, including a 10-8 mark in the spring.
“Jaime has proven to be one of the best players in our conference,” Choboy said. “His success overseas, especially in doubles play, will have a great impact on our team.”
The Pack, with a deep roster of 13 players, also returns senior Dominic Hodgson and sophomore Ivan Gomez Sanchez, who tied for the team lead with 13 victories in spring singles action. Senior Julian Sullivan has won 27 singles matches and 23 doubles matches in his two seasons of competition with the Wolfpack and senior Akash Gujarati has also posted more than two dozen singles wins in his three years in the program.
Junior Rafael Paez posted the team’s best winning percentage during fall tournament play, with a 5-1 mark in singles play. He was 9-13 in singles action last year. Junior Will Rollinson of Raleigh returns to the lineup, along with twins Dave and Matt Thomson of Herfordshire, United Kingdom.
Dave Thomson, a junior, missed much of the fall with an injury, while Matt, a redshirt sophomore, saw action in four fall tournaments.
Raleigh-native Sean Weber, a sophomore, saw action last spring and in the fall tournament season.
Choboy is also excited to welcome freshmen Robbie Mudge, Austin Powell and Beck Bond, who are all ranked among the top 100 junior players in the country. The trio of accomplished players was ranked as the No. 13 freshman class in the country by tennisrecruiting.net.
Mudge, a two-time high school All-American from Mooresville, N.C., is the No. 3 ranked junior in the Southeast and the No. 24 ranked junior in the nation. He posted a 6-5 singles record in three fall tournaments.
Powell, from Muscle Shoals, Ala., is ranked No. 5 in the Southeast and No. 51 in the nation among junior players. He had a 9-3 record in the fall, the most wins of any Wolfpack player during tournament play. He advanced to the title match of in the Division II bracket at the prestigious Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens, Ga. His performance during the fall earned him a No. 100 ITA national ranking.
Bond of Meriden, Conn., is New England’s No. 4 ranked junior player and No. 91 in the nation. He won the consolation title in the Hannah bracket at the Crimson Tide Fall Championships last October.
“We have a talented and deep lineup,” Choboy said. “We had great competition in the fall and that will continue during these early-season matches as we prepare for ACC play.”
The Wolfpack also will host a doubleheader next weekend against Penn State and East Carolina at the Isenhour Indoor Tennis Center. Admission for all home dual matches is free.