TN: Fall schedule sets the stage
Aug. 21, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington men's and women's tennis teams open the 2014 fall season Sept. 12 at the HEB Corpus Christi Invitational and at the Midland Invitational.
"The fall matches are an essential part on the development of our strengths, it is the time to take some risk and work on new shots and strategies," UT Arlington coach Diego Benitez said. "It is also the time when we can narrow down parts of our game we need to get better."
The men are returning several key players, including junior CarlosArbiza and sophomore Daniel Armengol. The pair led the Mavericks last season with a combined 16 wins. The women are also return junior Elizabeth Thoms and sophomore Angeles de los Rios.
Arbiza made his way into the national rankings (No. 125) in singles play last year after he defeated the No. 32 player in the nation in straight sets (7-4, 6-4).
"Carlos Arbiza has played on the top of the lineup and proved he can beat anybody up there," Benitez said.
Armengol had the best overall singles record finishing 11-5, and the overall best doubles record with teammate Austin Robles at 9-3.
"Daniel Armengol and Daniel Echeverry, who both played amazing tennis in the summer at the futures level and both got world points' rankings," Benitez said. "I am eager to see them played now with that extra confidence factor they have earned."
Thoms finished her sophomore season with a 9-5 record in singles play. After going undefeated in singles and doubles against North Texas and Middle Tennessee, Thoms was named Sun Belt Player of the Week. Thoms was eventually named to the Sun Belt-Conference Singles First Team.
De los Rios had an impressive freshman year finishing the season with an 11-6 record in singles play and a 6-5 record in doubles. De los Rios was later named to the Sun Belt All-Conference Singles Second Team.
"Our women really look very solid from top to bottom," Benitez said. "It is hard to put a finger on who will be a key player. That is a good problem to have. We had a first-class freshmen class last year. They now have one year under their belt and I expect more of the same great talent displayed, plus the experience factor helping them out."
The women have been invited back to one of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation, the Billy Jean King USTA College Invitational in New York City. Last year the women won the singles title and were runnerups in doubles.
"We get to play against a different type of opponent." Benitez said. "Usually we face a more aggressive tennis since they play a lot indoors fast surface courts. It was nice to leave a mark last year, and get invited again this year."
Both men and women will finish up their fall season at the ITA Regionals in Waco.
"We want to dominate our conference, which is our main goal," Benitez said. "We want to set the stage for bigger things once May comes around. We have to break into the top of the rankings and solidify the powerhouse we are with national success and recognition."