Jan. 9, 2007
LOS ANGELES - The Loyola Marymount men's tennis team is looking for bigger and better things in 2007. The Lions will open the spring campaign Monday, January 15, against Air Force at the LMU Tennis Center at 10:00 a.m.
Although the program has achieved five consecutive winning seasons for an overall record of 76-49, sixth year Head Coach Nik DeVore is not satisfied. "Though some positive things certainly happened for us last season, overall, it was pretty disappointing," DeVore said. "We are looking to take our program to a higher level now."
Four of the everyday lineup players from DeVore's 2006 squad graduated last May, forcing the Lions to rebuild. "It's a bit sad to lose four great guys from our program, but at the same time, it is exciting because we have so much new blood on our team," DeVore said. "Our team will be very young this season, with six true freshmen and two transfers, so it might take a little time to mature. The main goal is to continue to improve over the course of the season in preparation for the WCC Championship, so we will have to be patient with this group of players. With the talent that we have, we should be in a position to challenge any team in the conference come tournament time."
The young LMU team will be counting on the lone three returners, seniors Nico Terrien, Matt Phillips, and Reyniere Roxas, for some much needed leadership this season. "This is the youngest team we have ever had, so it will be extremely important that our three seniors step up and take charge of this team," DeVore said.
In addition to the six freshmen joining the program, DeVore also welcomes two transfer students, whose collegiate tennis experience could prove invaluable. Sam Tadevosian (Fresno State) and Jacek Twarowski (Georgia State) will bring a combined four seasons of Division I experience to the Lions. "Both Sam and Jacek have had a great deal of experience playing at a high level, which should really help us this season," DeVore said.
Rounding out the roster are freshmen Nick Perez, Nikola Petrov, Javier Royo, Nick Von Der Ahe, Dmitry Popov and Renzo Maggi. "All of these guys have talent, so it's going to be a real battle from top to bottom when it comes to fighting for position on the team," DeVore said. "This is a nice problem to have though and makes for great practices."
The Lions will have a tough go of it early on as four of the season's first five matches are against top national programs. The Lions begin by hosting Air Force on January 15th, before hitting the road for matches with USC, Fresno State, Nebraska, and defending national champion and West Coast Conference foe Pepperdine. Over the course of the spring 2007 season, the Lions will face a total of 11 teams that appeared in the national rankings last season. "These are very tough matches to start out with, but if we handle these matches properly, it could make us that much tougher for the rest of the season. We are really looking forward to the challenges of our spring schedule this season and watching our young guys develop."
The home opener against Air Force is scheduled for a 10:00 a.m. start on Monday, January 15th at the LMU Tennis Center.