August 30, 2013

2012-13 Concordia College Men’s Tennis Season Wrap-up

Bronxville, N.Y. – The 2012-13 season for the men's tennis team at Concordia College was another year for the record books. The Clippers captured their fourth straight Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championship while finishing with a 22-3 overall record. Concordia qualified for their fourth NCAA Semifinals match in the past five seasons as the program continues to be one of the elite tennis teams in the country.

During the fall the Clippers participated in the Stony Brook Invitational to begin their competition for the season as Concordia would capture both the singles A and C flights. Days later the team would travel to Philadelphia, Pa. for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) East Regionals. The Clippers would dominate as junior Daniele Piludu (Cagliari, Italy) and senior Andrey Boldarev (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) captured the doubles championship while Piludu also took the singles championship.

Both players would represent Concordia and the East Region at the ITA National Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala. in October. The duo finished fourth in the tournament while Piludu grabbed a third place finish in singles play.

The team would not compete until early March as the Clippers traveled to Florida to face Embry-Riddle, No. 33 Flagler, No. 9 Augusta State, and No. 1 Armstrong. Concordia took three of the four matches as Armstrong would knock off the Clippers, 8-1. Concordia is now 0-5 all-time against Armstrong.

The Clippers would return to New York to face rival Queens (N.Y.) on the road and then host Bloomfield for their first conference match. Concordia would use what they learned in Florida to dominate both matches, 9-0. The program would then head back to the Sunshine State this time to face William Carey, No. 23 Valdosta St., and No. 2 West Fla. The Clippers grabbed two wins with West Fla. taking a 6-3 win as Concordia now held a 7-2 overall record.

Caldwell would be next on the schedule as the Clippers won easily, 9-0, before grabbing a 7-2 victory on the road against No. 27 Francis Marion. A tough stretch would follow for Concordia as the team would play three conference matches in as many days. The Clippers would play strong and grabbed 9-0 wins in each match against Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill, and USciences.

After a few days off Concordia would once again play three matches in three days. This time the Clippers would face the District of Columbia, Post, and Division I Farleigh Dickinson. Concordia continued to dominate with three more wins to add to their total as their record now stood at 15-2. The victory over Post would clinch their fourth straight CACC Regular Season Championship title and was their 30th straight CACC regular season win.

The Clippers earned the top seed in the CACC Tournament and began with a 5-0 win over USciences in the semifinals match. In the finals Concordia would face rival Chestnut Hill and easily put away the Griffins, 5-0, to secure the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and claim their fourth straight CACC Championship.

In preparation for the NCAA Tournament, the Clippers would face NYIT and ASA College to conclude their regular season. Concordia would take a 9-0 victory over NYIT and then took an 8-1 win over ASA to finish the regular season with a 19-2 overall record as the program was currently on a 14-match winning streak.

In the NCAA Preliminary Round the Clippers battled Queens (N.Y.) and earned a 6-0 shutout victory to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Surprise, Ariz. Up next for Concordia was No. 24 Northwest Missouri State as a 5-1 win would advance them to the next round of the tournament. The Clippers continued their dominance with a 5-2 victory over No. 8 Lander to earn a spot in the NCAA Semifinals against No. 1 Barry.

The last time Concordia faced Barry was in the 2011 NCAA Semifinals as the Clippers entered the match 1-4 all-time against the Bucs with their only win occurring on Mar. 4, 2011. Barry would prove to be too tough of an opponent as the Bucs captured a 5-0 victory to knock out Concordia. With the loss the Clippers finished the season with 22 wins and earned the fourth most victories for the program since the 1975-76 season.

The team earned numerous awards throughout the season. Within the CACC Boldarev earned CACC Player of the Week recognition twice while Sophomore Tomasz Olfans (Opole, Poland) was selected once. At the CACC Annual Banquet Boldarev, Olfans, Piludu, senior Andreas Lindell (Helsingborg, Sweden), sophomore Benas Majauskas (Vilnius, Lithuania), and senior David Tisserand (Lyon, France) were all named to the CACC Men's Tennis All-First Team to sweep all six spots. Sophomore Ricardo Frey (Curitiba, Brazil) and sophomore Juuso Ojanen (Varkaus, Finland) were named to the CACC All-Second Team as every player on the roster for Concordia was named to one of the teams. In the individual awards, Piludu was named the CACC Player of the Year for the second straight season while head coach Neil Tarangioli was named the CACC Coach of the Year. At the conclusion of the CACC Tournament Boldarev, Majauskas, Lindell, and Piludu were named to the CACC All-Tournament team while Piludu was named the tournament's MVP for the second straight year.

With the ITA the Clippers would also garner many awards and accolades. Within the East Region head coach Neil Tarangioli was named the Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career while assistant coach Daniel Rockhill was named the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. Boldarev captured the ITA Senior Player of the Year while Majauskas (Vilnius, Lithuania) took home the ITA Player to Watch award of which both were within the East Region. On the national level Rockhill would be named the National ITA Assistant Coach of the Year in NCAA Division II men's tennis. Daniel is now a two-time recipient of the men's National ITA Assistant Coach of the Year award after claiming top honors in 2010.

When the final ITA rankings came out in May Concordia was ranked as the No. 6 team in NCAA Division II and the No. 1 team in the East Region. Boldarev concluded his collegiate career ranked 10th in the nation while Piludu secured the 12th-ranked singles position. The duo is also ranked 6th in the doubles rankings in the nation. Also joining the duo in the doubles rankings are Majauskas and Olfans with the 21st-ranked position as the Clippers are one of four teams to have two doubles teams in the national rankings. Within the East Region Boldarev, Piludu, and Olfans grabbed the top-three spots in the singles rankings while Tisserand, Majauskas, and Lindell secured spots 4-6 and Ojanen claimed the ninth position in singles. The final on-court awards for the program were collected by both Boldarev and Piludu. Both players were named to the ITA All-America Singles and Doubles teams.

Off the court the program excelled in the classroom as the team was named an ITA All-Academic Team award recipient. The ITA All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above. On an individual level the ITA would award five players their ITA Scholar-Athlete award which is given to a player who is a varsity letter winner and has a grade point average of at least 3.50 for the current academic year. Boldarev, Frey, Majauskas, Ojanen, and Tisserand were all recipients of the award.

The Clippers will look at another shot for a national title in 2014 as their fall schedule is currently available under their schedule page and the spring schedule will be announced in early 2014.