Men's Tennis Opens 2013 Season with Saturday Doubleheader
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
<B>Michael Wardell</b> is one of three seniors on Auburn's 2013 roster.

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Michael Wardell is one of three seniors on Auburn's 2013 roster.
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Jan. 18, 2013



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Auburn (0-0) vs. Jacksonville State (0-0) | 11 a.m.
Auburn (0-0) vs. Mercer (0-0) | 5 p.m.
Saturday, January 19 | Yarbrough Tennis Center | Auburn, Ala.
Live Scoring - Jacksonville State | Live Scoring - Mercer
AUBURN - The 21st-ranked Auburn men's tennis team opens the 2013 dual match season with a pair of matches Saturday at the City of Auburn/Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center. The Tigers will host Jacksonville State at 11 a.m., followed by a 5 p.m. match against Mercer.

Admission is free to all Auburn home tennis matches. Weather permitting, the 11 a.m. Jacksonville State match will be played on the outdoor courts, and the 5 p.m. Mercer match will likely be played indoors.

"We're excited to get started tomorrow," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "It looks like we're going to be able to play outside in the morning against Jacksonville State, which is important to us as we continue to prepare for next week's National Indoors qualifier, which we will be playing outside at Mississippi State. The guys are ready to play a match, and then we'll come back and play indoors at 5:00 against Mercer. We're just continuing our preparation for next week."

Today marks the first of 11 home matches for the Tigers in 2012. The Tigers have been tough at home, compiling a 33-17 record in dual matches since beginning play at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in 2008. Over the last three seasons, Auburn is 21-7 on its home courts, including a 7-2 mark last season.

SERIES HISTORY
Today marks the first meeting in men's tennis between Auburn and Jacksonville State.

This is the 26th all-time dual match between Auburn and Mercer. Auburn holds a 19-6 lead in the all-time series, but this is the first meeting since 2006, a 6-0 Auburn win. The series dates back to 1951, the second year of Auburn tennis.

ABOUT THE TIGERS
Auburn enters the 2013 dual season at No. 21 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

The Tigers are coming off a strong 2012 season where they finished with an 18-10 record, third in the SEC West, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Auburn earned a final ranking of 19th in the season-ending ITA release.

Auburn returns six letterwinners from the 2012 season, with the biggest key loss from last year being all-time wins leader Alex Stamchev.

Auburn is led by the doubles team of senior Andreas Mies and junior Daniel Cochrane, who enter the season ranked No. 2 in the nation. The duo compiled a 7-1 record in doubles during the fall, claiming Auburn's first-ever title at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa. Mies and Cochrane also advanced to the semifinals at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in November. Mies recorded a 5-2 singles record in the fall while Cochrane played in just two singles matches, going 1-1.

Senior Lucas Lopasso led Auburn with a 9-1 singles record during the fall, winning his flight in two tournaments. The team of Lopasso and junior Dennis Lengsfeld put together a perfect 5-0 mark in doubles play during the fall season as well.

Head Coach Eric Shore is entering his 23rd season at the helm of the Auburn program. He has a 305-241 (.559) record over his previous 22 seasons with the Tigers and has led Auburn to 18 NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 19 years, including 13 straight.

SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
Jacksonville State finished the 2012 season with a 12-13 record, including a 5-3 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. The Gamecocks advanced to the semifinals of the OVC Tournament before falling to Tennessee Tech.

JSU has a senior-laden team with Nenad Marcec, Igor Santos, Axel Sundberg and Felipe Watanabe all returning for their final seasons. Marcec and Santos led the Gamecocks with 17-6 overall records last season. Marcec was 16-5 at the No. 3 position, and Santos went 17-2 at the No. 2 singles spot.

SCOUTING THE BEARS
Mercer finished with a 5-13 overall record during the 2012 season, 2-7 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Peter Tauchner and Vincent DeLise will lead the Bears into the 2013 season as Tauchner posted a 6-12 record in dual match play last year, going 2-0 at the No. 1 spot. DeLise was 10-8 overall last year, playing mostly at the bottom of the lineup.

LOOKING AHEAD
Auburn will return to action Tuesday, Jan. 22, as the Tigers play host to longtime rival Troy at 2 p.m. Admission is free for the match at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.