Men's Tennis Hosts First Annual Blue/Silver Match This Friday
Aug. 24, 2010
The Air Force men's tennis program will host its first annual Blue/Silver match this Friday, August 27 at the Air Force Intercollegiate Tennis Courts. The match, which officially opens the 2010-11 season, will begin at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.
The match will be played as a regular dual match with three doubles matches followed by six singles contests. The blue team will consist of the returning players, while the silver squad will be made up of this year's freshman class.
Here are the rosters (along with their squadrons) for Friday's match:
C1C Taylor Soster, CS-25
C1C Alex Beaussart, CS-14
C2C Mike Tope, CS-36
C3C Sam Barnes, CS-08
C3C Stephen Katrein, CS-26
C3C Lance Wilhelm, CS-17
C4C Danny Gies, CS-10
C4C Alex Grubbs, CS-01
C4C Alex Lineberry, CS-18
C4C Lucas Marin-Salcedo, CS-10
C4C Ali Rizvi, CS-35
C4C Steven Young, CS-13
C4C Andy Jackson, CS-04 (out for injury)
2010-11 SEASON PREVIEW
Entering his second season as head coach, Dan Oosterhous has high expectations for the Air Force men's tennis team in 2010-11. With five returning starters and a talented recruiting class, the Falcons are poised to improve on last season's accomplishments. Oosterhous, who took over the program from legendary coach Rich Gugat last October, led the Falcons to 10 wins in his first season.
The new coach guided his team to a nine-match winning streak early in the spring en route to its best start (10-2) since 2003 which included a dramatic 4-3 victory over service-academy rival Army. In the second half of the campaign, the Falcons faced their toughest schedule in recent years, including seven top-75 teams. Unfortunately, the Falcons were unable to secure a victory in their final 11 matches to finish the season at 10-13 overall and 0-6 in the Mountain West Conference. During that span, however, four Falcons each won his first career MWC singles match and the team won the doubles point against a conference opponent for the first time in seven years.
Oosterhous lost three seniors to graduation, two of them that played significantly during their four years at the Academy. Brett Rodgers and Austin Francis left the program after winning 41 and 39 singles matches, respectively, in his career. Rodgers' 54 dual match doubles wins ranks him 18th on the school's career list. James Tomlin also graduated and will join the team as an assistant coach in '10-11.
Leading the way this season is senior captain Taylor Soster, who paired with Rodgers for 40 of those doubles wins the last three seasons. The duo had an outstanding doubles campaign last year, posting a 21-12 overall record and a 14-8 mark at the No. 1 position. Their 21 wins were the most by an AFA team since current assistant coach Tyler McClung and Eric Pittman combined for 25 during the 2002-03 campaign. Soster won eight singles matches last year as a junior and earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors after going 4-0 against Seattle University and St. Peter's College.
Also returning for his senior campaign is Alex Beaussart, who won 12 singles and 10 doubles matches last season, more than doubling his previous career totals. He played the majority of the season at Nos. 5 and 6 singles and No. 3 doubles with Sam Barnes.
Last year's team MVP, Lance Wilhelm, leads a group of sophomores that saw significant playing time as freshmen a year ago. Wilhelm finished the season with a 20-14 overall singles record and a 13-9 mark at the No. 1 spot. He posted the first 20-win season for Air Force since Shannon Buck had 29 in 2005-06 and went 2-1 against regionally ranked opponents, including a season-opening 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Yannick Weihs of Denver, the Mountain Region's second-ranked player. He also posted AFA's first singles victory over BYU since 2006 with a 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2) victory over Evan Urbina in his first career MWC match. Wilhelm had a successful doubles campaign as well, posting 15 wins, including 11 with Francis at the No. 2 spot.
Barnes and Stephen Katrein are also back for their sophomore season. Barnes saw most of his action in doubles last year with Beaussart and was named to the MWC all-academic team for earning a 3.0 GPA last year. Katrein, meanwhile, won nine of his 20 singles matches, including a 4-3 mark at the No. 6 position.
As much as the freshmen played last season, this year's incoming class is expected to be even more productive. Air Force's recruiting class was ranked No. 29 in the nation among over 270 Division I men's programs by the Tennis Recruiting Network. This is Air Force's highest ever recruiting class ranking and also received a ranking of No. 7 among mid-major Division I schools. The freshman class includes Lucas Marin-Salcedo (Weston, Fla.), Andy Jackson (Dayton, Ohio) Alex Lineberry (Cornville, Ariz.), Alex Grubbs (Fort Worth, Texas), Ali Rizvi (Frisco, Texas), Steven Young (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Danny Gies (Austin, Texas).
Following the Class of 1990 / 2000 alumni match on Saturday, Sept. 11, the Falcons will participate in four tournaments during the fall season. The team will travel to tournaments at Baylor (Sept. 23-26), Boise State (Oct. 6-10) and New Mexico (Oct. 7-10) before finishing the fall campaign at the ITA Mountain Region Tourney in Las Vegas, Nev., beginning Wednesday, Oct. 20. The 2011 spring season begins on Saturday, Jan. 22 against Montana State at the Academy and the Falcons host MWC opponents UNLV (March 10), TCU (March 31) and San Diego State (April 3) next spring. The MWC Championships begin on Wednesday, April 27 in Fort Collins, Colo.