Bronxville, NY – The Concordia men's tennis team has officially begun their 2012 spring schedule and as in the years past, making the NCAA tournament is their primary goal. After reaching the NCAA Semifinals for three consecutive seasons, it is easy to say that another appearance will be in sight for the 2012 campaign. Concordia is fresh off a 25 win season and have won 20 or more games in each of the past three seasons.
Currently the team is ranked #4 in NCAA Division II according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and #1 in the East Region. "In order to prepare the team for a national championship run we need to play the best possible competition during the season" stated assistant coach Daniel Rockhill. To accomplish this, the Clippers have scheduled games with eight Top-25 ranked teams.
With the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) team's improving this season, the coaching staff at Concordia has realized they need to prepare for their conference matches. "We are really expecting a lot from our talented freshmen, especially Mark Mozer (Brest, Belarus), Benas Majauskas (Vilnius, Lithuania) and Tomasz Olfans (Opole, Poland)" explained Rockhill. "How these guys perform in their first year at the collegiate level will probably determine how well we will play and how far we can go this season."
In preparation for the season, head coach Neil Tarangioli has had the team working hard on the doubles portion of their game as these three points are vital to win at the DII level. "In today's game most junior players focus only on singles and thus freshman players begin their college careers with very little experience" stated Rockhill. "Our doubles performance will go a long way in determining how well we do this year."
Here is a breakdown on each player as explained by Rockhill:
Majauskas has vast international playing experience and will be expected to contribute immediately in the top half of the lineup. He is a very coachable, hardworking and is just the kind of freshman we look for. He is going to be very successful here at Concordia.
Daniele Piludu (Cagliari, Italy) had a really nice 2011 fall campaign as he was the runner up the ITA Small College Nationals within DII. We will look for another great season from him this year as he is one of the more talented players in the country.
Geza Bazula (Budapest, Hungary) is one of two seniors this year and will be counted on especially in doubles. He has a strong understanding of how the game is supposed to be played and is like having another coach in the court. Bazula is really looking forward to having a special final semester for the Clippers.
Ricardo Frey (Curitiba, Brazil) has really improved since arriving to Concordia. He has been spending a lot of time in the gym and that has paid dividends. His serve - forehand combination is lethal. If he is able to dictate play, he will pile up a lot of wins this year.
Olfans is a very crafty player. He is comfortable at both the baseline and the net. He will add depth to the lineup and will be a factor in the region for sure.
Mozer is really progressing nicely. His fitness is continually improving and he loves to play the game. He is the tennis equivalent of a "gym rat". Mark could very well lead the team in wins this season and could be successful at many positions in the lineup.
David Tisserand (Lyon, France) has made a huge leap from last season. He is one of the most fit players we have ever had. David made a racquet change and is really controlling the play on the court. His consistency has also improved and that makes him very difficult to beat.
Andreas Lindell (Helsingborg, Sweden) has really improved his net game. He has been a force in the lower half on the lineup the past two seasons but now has the experience to move up and play in the top half of the lineup. If he is on his game, he can really surprise the top players in the country.
Dane Ostilly (Westport, CT) has certainly improved his consistently and will see more action this year. He has been a force in the conference during his career and will be expected to compete in more matches this season.
Jason Quintana (Holtsville, NY) has been a really nice surprise to his teammates and coaches. He has tremendous skills and will see quite a few matches this year. He knows how to construct points and that will serve him well.
The Clippers (2-1, 0-0 CACC) have over a week until their next match. Concordia will travel to Florida to face Embry-Riddle on Sunday, March 4th in Daytona Beach. While in the Sunshine State, the Clippers will take on two Top-15 teams within Division II. Make sure to visit ConcordiaClippers.com for preview articles for each game along with results and recaps.