Jan. 27, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men's tennis team is seeking a return to the form and consistency that saw the Mavericks win the 2010 Southland Conference regular season championship, the squad's eighth title in 15 years, when it hits the hard court this spring.
UTA boasts a strong nucleus of veteran players who helped the Mavericks knock off three nationally-ranked teams in 2011 and also earn the third seed in the SLC Championships. The first step will be taken Saturday when the Mavericks open the 2012 season against a formidable opponent in Arkansas.
"We have high hopes this season and expect to play well, beginning Saturday," head coach Diego Benitez said.
Senior Mindaugas Celedinashas been a fixture in the Mavs lineup since being named the SLC Freshman of the Year in 2009. He posted a 10-10 record a year ago, with nine of his wins coming in the No. 1 position.
Fellow senior David Subiratsalso is a proven winner. He was the lone UT Arlington all-conference selection last year, making him a three-time All-SLC singles pick.
Meanwhile, junior Yauheni Yakauleu owns two years of collegiate experience and played No. 3 most of last year, while sophomore Nicolas Moreno played in 14 matches as a freshman. In addition, senior Jason Lateko also has UTA matches under their belts.
Three newcomers have been added to the roster, providing the team more flexibility and depth in its lineup. Freshman Juan Farah, along with transfers Sebastian Gomez (sophomore) and Soren Goritzka(junior), will figure into the rotation.
"I feel we are extremely deep in our lineup," Benitez said. "We have a team that has a serious chance to compete."
The Southland Conference once again figures to be a very difficult league from top to bottom, making it a challenge to snag one of the four berths to the SLC Championships in late April.
"One of our main goals is to win conference," Benitez said. "The early season will help us feel everything out and get ready for a strong conference run."