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Tennis Briefs(3): Embry-Riddle Win NAIA Chp.; Gators Advance at NCAAs

May 20, 2013 03:41 PM

Embry-Riddle Men's Tennis Wins 1st NAIA National Championship

ERAU_2013_mens_naia_national_championsThe Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University men's tennis program made history on Saturday as the top-ranked Eagles defeated the No. 2 Auburn Montgomery Warhawks 5-4 to capture the first national title in school history at the NAIA National Men's Tennis Championships in Mobile, Ala.
"It was incredible and the guys never stopped fighting," said head coach Dave Paschal. "In 22 years in college tennis I have never been associated with a match that we were losing the entire time, and then won in the last minute."
The Eagles fell behind 1-2 after the doubles, but battled back to win four singles matches to edge Auburn Montgomery for the championship.
Auburn Montgomery earned the first point of the day as the No. 3-ranked doubles squad of Bence Toth and Tim Hewitt downed top-ranked Chris Freeman and Deni Zmak 8-5 at the top spot. The Warhawks further extended their lead when Nicolas Pinones-Haltenhoff and Miguel Grifol topped the Eagles' Simon Felix and Kevin Chaouat 8-4 at No. 3 doubles. The Eagles got on the board when their No. 2 team of Anthony Grasso and Patrick Besch fought off a match point in an eventual 9-7 victory.
ERAU's Felix at No. 5 singles then drew the final to 2-2 with a quick 6-2, 6-1 defeat of Zinelabidine Joiuni. The Warhawks reclaimed the one-point edge when Othmane Lalami downed David Spennare 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6 singles. But once again, the Eagles were able to get the equalizer as the No. 13-ranked Freeman bested Toth in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3 singles.
The contest at No. 1 singles was a rematch of the 2012 ITA/NAIA national singles championship between ERAU's Besch and Pinones-Haltenhoff. In the fall, Besch was able to get the better of the AUM sophomore to capture the national singles crown, but on Saturday, Pinones-Haltenhoff held off Besch 7-5 in the first set, and took the second 6-1 to put the Warhawks back on top by an overall score of 4-3.
At No. 4 singles, ERAU's Grasso defeated Grifol in three sets to even the match at 4-4, with only the No. 2 singles match remaining.
The championship came down to the last remaining singles on the No. 2 court between ERAU's Zmak and Hewitt. Zmak had won the first set and Hewitt the second when, serving at 4-5 in the third, Zmak fought off a match point with back-to-back aces to close out his service game. The set eventually went to a tiebreaker, where Zmak again fought off two additional match points to even the breaker at 7-7. Zmak then served to an 8-7 lead, and on Hewitt's serve sliced a backhand return out of reach to close out the match and the national championship for the Eagles.
During the trophy presentation following the match, ERAU Head Coach Dave Paschal was named the Coach of the Year, while Zmak received the Ward-Ballinger Award, presented to the individual at the national tournament who exhibited outstanding play, sportsmanship and leadership.
The 24-2 win-loss record for the Eagles ended with an 18-match win streak, and set the school record for number of wins for the men's tennis program.

Pensacola's Vickrey Comm. Center to Host USTA 10 and Under Tennis Workshop

Coaches Workshop KB_Butch Staples.jpgRecreational tennis coaches as well as parents, teachers, camp or school staff who work with the age 10 and under population in the Pensacola area can get certified in the latest USTA 10 and Under Tennis methods when USTA Florida hosts a 10 and Under Tennis Workshop on June 1, 2013, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Vickrey Community Center in Pensacola, Fla.
The 3-1/2 hour interactive on-court workshops gives an overview of 10 and Under Tennis and the six variables that all programs should adhere to for success. Each participant receives a set of 10 and Under Tennis practice plans.
For parents the workshop provides the perfect inroad to get involved and become a tennis volunteer with the 10 and Under Tennis play format in a Youth Team Tennis league, providing the perceived competence of being a tennis coach and learning the basics for working with small children of beginner and intermediate levels.
The workshop will also benefit any volunteers who will be assisting with the upcoming Racquet Roundup in the Pensacola area.
10 and Under Tennis allows smaller children to emulate adult play on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.
"I think that it is an advantage from the beginning," said South Florida resident Maria Sharapova regarding 10 and Under Tennis. "It is much easier to have the lighter balls, and much easier to have a smaller court and I think it gives them a better sense of the game in a way. Whereas you are coming onto the tennis courts for the first time, and since it is one-on-one sport, it can be quite overwhelming. So for a young player that is trying it out, I think it is a wonderful opportunity."
For event registration go to www.tmipensacola.eventbrite.com. For additional information, contact Tara Dominguez (dominguez@florida.usta.com or (850) 261-6192) or George English (english@florida.usta.com or (850) 510-6585).

Florida Lady Gators Into NCAA Tennis Final 4; Miami Falls

Gator-Tennis.jpgThe No. 1-ranked University of Florida women's tennis team advanced into the final four on Sunday at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana, while the University of Miami women were stopped in their quest to reach the tournament semifinals.
Florida defeated No. 8 California 4-2, winning the doubles point 2-1 then three of the first four singles matches to finish.
California's Zsofi Susanyi defeated Alexandra Cercone 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3 singles to even the overall match at 2-2 before, in order of finish, Gator No. 1 Lauren Embree easily defeated Anett Schutting 6-2, 6-0; Gator No. 5 Olivia Janowicz rolled past Tayler Davis 6-1, 6-1; Cal's Klara Fabikova defeated Sofie Oyen 7-5, 6-4 at No. 2 singles; and Gator No. 6 Caroline Hitimana clinched the match for Florida with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Annie Goransson.
"It feels great to be back in the semifinals," the Florida senior Embree said. "Cal is a really tough team and played great. There were some close doubles matches and we were fortunate to pull it out."
No. 6-ranked Miami fell to No. 3 Texas A&M when the Hurricanes were swept 4-0.
Texas A&M won all three doubles lines to take a 1-0 match lead, then failed to drop a set in winning at the No. 1, 2 and 3 singles spots to close out the match.
In the semifinals Florida will renew their rivalry with Stanford, and Texas A&M will meet UCLA.
"They're a great team always," said Embree regarding Stanford, speaking to zootennis.com. "We always have great matches and we're looking forward to another tough, long match."





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