UT Arlington men's tennis will head to Houston this weekend to compete at the Rice Invitational.
The Mavericks opened the season with two doubles titles.
UTA tennis will be competing at Corpus Christi and Midland to open slate.
UT Arlington athletic director Jim Baker shares his thoughts on the program.
With the win UTA improved to 5-9 overall and have now won two matches in a row after a four-match losing skid.
Diego Benitez returns for his 11th year as the head coach of both the men's and women's tennis programs at UT Arlington. In 2010, Benitez led the men's squad to its seventh regular-season title and a 9-11 overall record. UTA was one match shy of winning the SLC Tournament but dropped a 4-0 decision to UTSA.
The Mavericks head coach also guided four Mavericks to All-Southland Conference honors. David Subirats and Jason Lateko were named to the All-SLC singles second team while doubles team of Brieuc Hamon and Yauheni Yakaulen earned a spot on the second team. The women's team also turned in a successful 2010 season, finishing with a 12-7 overall record and a near perfect 10-1 conference mark.
The Mavericks faced Northwestern State as undefeated teams for the Southland Conference title two games prior to the tournament in Corpus Christi. With several injuries nagging the Mavs, Northwestern State recorded a 6-1 win. As the No. 2 seed in the SLC Tournament, UTA rolled pasted both Southeastern Louisiana and Texas State. The Mavs earned a rematch against Northwestern State in the championship match. Despite a strong effort by the women, the Mavericks dropped a 4-3 decision to the Lady Demons.
Three Mavericks earned All-SLC honors. Daiana Negreanu, Maria Martinez-Romero and Nikola Matovivoa represented UT Arlington on the SLC All-Conference teams. Negreanu was the lone Maverick to be named to the first team All-SLC team after recording a perfect 9-0 conference mark. For the second time in career, Martinez-Romero earned second team All-SLC accolades. Martinez-Romero finished conference action with a 10-1 mark and a 12-3 overall record at the No. 4 position. No. 3 doubles team-Martinez-Romero and Matovivoa earned a second-team All-SLC spot after wrapping up the regular season with a perfect 9-0 mark.
The tandem also won its last 10 doubles matches and finished with a 10-2 overall record. Romero and Klara Jagosova were also recognized in the classroom by being named to the SLC All-Academic Team. Benitez produced a successful 2009 season during which he was named the 2009 Women's Tennis Coach of the Year. He led the Mavericks to a 17-7 overall record including an undefeated 11-0 SLC mark and a Southland Conference title.
The conference championship marked the fifth in UTA women's tennis program history. The Mavs' undefeated conference record was accredited to the combination coaching of Benitez and former assistant coach Younes Limam, who helped lead three of five newcomers to 10-plus singles and doubles victories. After dominating three of their opponents in the SLC Tournament, UT Arlington faced No. 4 Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships in Waco, Texas where they suffered a 4-0 setback to the Bears.
Benitez had three players earn SLC Player of the Week honors and led three freshmen to All-SLC accolades including first team All-SLC honoree-Maria Martinez-Romero who led the team with 37 total wins. Martinez-Romero was one of two Mavericks to go undefeated during conference action and won 18 straight singles matches.
On the men's side, the Mavericks finished the regular season with a 9-12 overall record and a 3-3 SLC mark, making their 13th tournament appearance as the No. 4 seed. The Mavs faced Southeastern Louisiana in the first round of the tournament where they dropped a 4-1 decision and were eliminated. One of the biggest non-conference wins for the Mavericks came against nationally-ranked UC Santa Barbara, 4-3. After dropping the doubles point, UTA battled its way through singles action, capturing four of the six matches for the victory.
UTA's No. 1 singles player-Mindaugas Celedinas was named the 2009 SLC Freshman of the Year. Celedinas is only the third Maverick in men's tennis history to earn the recognition. Celedinas was also the first of three Mavericks to earn SLC Player of the Week honors after a three-set singles triumph over nationally-ranked University of New Orleans. Junior Gonzalo Bienzobas was the only Maverick selected to the All-SLC first team. Newcomers David Subirats and Celedinas earned All-SLC second team honors. Sophomore Brieuc Hamon and Bienzobas were the other two Mavs to earn SLC Player of the Week honors.
In 2007, Benitez led both the men and women to the Southland Conference Tournament. The women advanced to the finals of the tournament where they fell to No. 1 seed-Southeastern Louisiana, 4-0. The women finished the season with a 15-4 overall record and 8-2 conference mark. Five Mavericks earned post-season honors, including senior Daniela Novakova who collected her second First Team All-SLC nod. Novakova finished the season with a 15-1 overall mark and 9-1 conference record.
Doubles partners Marissa Brown and Sofya Lifanova earned an automatic first team selection after compiling a perfect 8-0 conference record. Simri van Rooyen and Monika Peciulionyte round off the group with second team All-SLC honors in the No. 1 doubles slot. The men's squad finished the season with an 11-12 overall record and a 5-1 conference mark. The Mavs closed out the 2007 season in the semifinals of the SLC Tournament where they dropped a 4-2 decision to UTSA.
Four player collected post-season honors, including junior transfer Dmitry Minkin who was named the Newcomer of the Year after posting a 17-5 overall record and a perfect 6-0 finish in conference matches. Minkin is only the fourth Maverick to earn the recognition in UTA Men's Tennis history. Javier Herrera and Diego Mattar along with, Alberto Agis and Minkin collected First Team All-SLC honors at the No. 2 and 3 positions. Mattar and Gonzalo Bienzobas were named to the Second Team All-SLC singles team.
In his first season at UTA, Benitez led the men's squad to its sixth Southland Conference Tournament title and a 13-7 overall record in 2006. As the head coach of the women's squad, Benitez led the Mavericks to a 7-12 overall record, including a 6-5 mark in league play and guided two newcomers to the women's All-Southland Conference Team. In 2004, Benitez guided senior David Corrie's climb to No. 21 in the national rankings and was honored as the Southland Conference's men's tennis Player of the Year.
Prior to joining the Maverick coaching staff, Benitez spent a year as the Director and General Manager of the Boca Raton Tennis Program, and as the head coach and coordinator of the Radical Tennis Juan Nunez Academy in Boca Raton, Florida. During his time in Florida, Benitez contributed to the development of young players while also training current professional players competing on the ATP and WTA tours. Prior to his stint in Boca Raton, Benitez served as the head men's and women's coach at Texas Wesleyan University from 2000-2001.
Benitez's playing career consisted of two years on the professional circuit after closing out his four-year collegiate career at Texas Wesleyan. While at Texas Wesleyan, he led his squad to one national tournament and two regional playoffs. Prior to coming to the United States, the Caracas, Venezuela native competed on the South America-Europe International Tennis Federation Circuit for three years. Benitez was among the top-20 nationally ranked singles players in his native country.