Jan. 17, 2008
AUBURN - The Auburn University men's tennis team begins its 2008 season Friday at the South Florida Spring Classic in Tampa, Fla. The Tigers are set to take on South Florida, Virginia Tech and Central Florida in the three-day tournament.
Head coach Eric Shore said this tournament should be good practice for the regular season.
"Virginia Tech is ranked fairly high and South Florida is also a tough team that we play during the season," said Shore. "I know that Central Florida will be a good opponent, so it will really be good preparation for our dual matches,"
Virginia Tech is currently ranked 35th in the nation and, according to Shore, the Hokies will be a good challenge for the 28th-ranked Tigers, a spot that Shore thinks is a good place to start.
"It gives us a good opportunity to move up in the rankings, and we are not too far back in the rankings," Shore said. "We will just have to see if we are worthy of our ranking based on how we do with the new guys and the guys that played low in the lineup last year."
With the loss of Robbert Lathouwers and All-American Alex Schweizer, Shore said that depth in the line-up is going to be a vital part to a winning season.
"We have a mix of experience and youth, and it will be interesting to find out where it all plays out this season," Shore said. "We are going to have to have some guys who have played in the lower part of the lineup last season, step up and raise the level of their games if we are going to be successful this year."
Seniors Pawal Dilaj and Terence Nugent both had winning records in the fall tournaments and are expected to lead the team this season.
"Pawel Dilaj, I expect good things from him as a senior leader," Shore said. "Terence Nugent has improved and gotten better each and every year. I am expecting him to raise his level."
Filling out the lineup behind the senior duo will be juniors Lukas Marsoun
, Alexey Tsyrenov
and Alex Petropoulos
, following their successful fall seasons. Petropoulos, a transfer from Auburn-Montgomery, led the team with an 11-5 record.
Action in the tournament is set to begin Friday morning at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.