July 24, 2007
LOS ANGELES - Spain native Ivan Lopez has signed a letter of intent to play tennis at Loyola Marymount University, Head Coach Nik DeVore announced Tuesday. Lopez will join the Lions for the 2007 fall semester.
Lopez will transfer to LMU from Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee. The NAIA school, also nicknamed the Lions, dropped its men's tennis program this year, leaving Lopez without a team. Freed-Hardman was one of the top NAIA tennis teams in the nation, and Lopez finished the year as sixth-ranked player in the country.
"We are really happy to have Ivan join us this fall," DeVore said. "It's always a shame when a university decides to drop a program. Wewere really happy that we were able to step in and help Ivan. He's a great guy, a good student, and a solid tennis player."
Before arriving at Freed-Hardeman last spring, the Almeria, Spain native was a top-10 junior in his country. Lopez was also ranked in the top-100 in the men's division.
"Ivan is young, like the other threefreshmen we have coming in this fall, so it will no doubt take some time forhim to get comfortable with his new school and develop his game," DeVore said. "By thespring, we feel that Ivan will be in a position to help our teamtremendously. Ivan has a pretty big serve and is very aggressive off ofboth wings from the baseline. His net game is pretty solid as well, and hehad a great deal of success at Freed-Hardeman in doubles."
Also a strong student, Lopez plans on majoring in liberal arts at LMU.
"We are pretty happy with our recruiting class this year with the addition of Lopez, Johan Berhof (Sweden), Stefan Nikolic (Serbia), and ArisAndreasian (Glendale, Calif.)," DeVore said. "We will have to give these guys some time todevelop, but in the not too distant future, we fully expect all four to makebig contributions to our program. With returning seniors Jacek Twarowski andSam Tadevosian, and sophomores Nick Von Der Ahe, Nick Perez, DmitryPopov, and Renzo Maggi, we should have a pretty solid team."
Once again the Lions will face a tough schedule, featuring 15 matchesagainst teams that appearedin the national rankings last season including Pepperdine, Duke, Arizona State, Arizona, San Diego, and BYU.
"Playing competitive schools like this every year isthe only way to get better," DeVore said. "We are looking forward to a challenging season,and hopefully climbing the West Coast Conference ladder and making a splash at the WCCTournament in April."