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    SEC Men's Tennis Notebook

    The Alabama men’s tennis team finished up the season ranked 48th as it held a 10-15 overall record and a 2-9 mark against SEC opponents. Although the team did not make it to the NCAA Championship collectively, the Crimson Tide was represented in the Doubles Championship by senior Ricky Doverspike and junior Jarryd Botha. The duo advanced to the Round of 16, eventually falling 6-3, 7-5 to the tournament’s No. 2 seed. Doverspike, an All-SEC Second Team selection, and Botha were the first Alabama doubles team to make it to the Round of 16 since Ellis Ferreira and Rick Witsken made it to the quarterfinals in 1991.

    The Razorback men’s tennis team’s 2012 season was ended after not receiving a bid to the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. Arkansas finished the year with a 14-13 overall record and were 1-10 in the SEC. One of the main highlights of its season was reaching a national ranking of No. 32, which was its highest ranking since 2008. Its win over Vanderbilt was also its first conference victory since the 2010 spring season. The players now begin their offseason workouts in preparation of the 2012-13 season.

    The Auburn Tigers had their winningest season in a decade in 2011-12, posting an overall dual match record of 18-10 with a 5-6 mark in SEC play. In addition, the Tigers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year – defeating Drake in the first round and dropping a 4-3 heartbreaker to host Illinois in the second round – and finished with a No. 19 national ranking. Two Auburn individuals – senior Alex Stamchev and junior Andreas Mies – were named ITA All-Americans after receiving a top-eight seed in the NCAA Doubles Championship. It was the second All-America honor for Stamchev and the first for Mies. Mies became the 15th different Auburn player to be named an All-American. Stamchev and Mies finished with a No. 19 national doubles ranking, while Mies was No. 23 and Stamchev was No. 51 in the final ITA singles rankings. Head Coach Eric Shore was named the ITA South Region Coach of the Year, and associate head coach Gabor Pelva was named the ITA South Region Assistant Coach of the Year. In addition, Stamchev earned the South Region’s Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and the ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award. Stamchev, the team’s only senior, leaves Auburn with an overall singles record of 105-43 and a doubles mark of 107-41. The Tigers will return seven letterwinners for the 2012-13 season.

    In a match that was much tighter than the final score would show, the No. 12 Florida men’s tennis team came up short against the fifth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, falling 4-1 in the Round of 16 of the 2012 NCAA Tennis Championship. After dropping the doubles point, The Gators picked up momentum in singles, winning the first set on four of the six courts. The Buckeyes picked up wins at 1 and 2 singles while Florent Diep got UF on the board with a win at 5. Florida had a chance in the remaining three matches, however, Michael Alford began to suffer from cramps and struggled to finish his match, losing in three sets. In the individual championships, Bob van Overbeek and Nassim Slilam each advanced to the Round of 32 of singles play. van Overbeek provided the only upset of a top-10 seed in the opening round, defeating No. 8 seed Sebastian Fanselow of Pepperdine, 6-3, 6-4.

    The University of Georgia men’s tennis team wrapped up its 2012 season with an overall record of 26-3, a final ITA ranking of No. 5, and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals for the eighth consecutive season. The Bulldogs – hosting the NCAA Championships in Athens for the 27th time on the men’s side – saw their season come to a close with a 4-3 loss to Pepperdine after Georgia dropped the doubles point and couldn’t pull out a fourth singles victory. Georgia was playing in its 34th NCAA Tournament and 29th in a row, which is good for the third-longest active streak behind only UCLA (36) and USC (35). Five Bulldogs then took part in the singles draw, with senior Wil Spencer reaching the round of 16 to lead the way. Spencer finished ranked No. 11 in the singles ranking, leading five Bulldogs in the individual poll while five Georgia doubles teams also finished ranked. The Bulldogs will bring back three starters and seven letterwinners in 2013 in addition to a class of four rookies.

    After one of the best seasons in school history that saw a third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance and a SEC Championship, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team finished the season ranked seventh in the nation in the final ITA rankings. The No. 7 final ranking is the best for UK since it was fifth at the end of the 1997 season. The high final mark ties the third highest final ranking in school history, trailing only the 1992 team that finished sixth and the 1997 squad. This was the 24th season that UK has finished in the top 25 in the final ITA rankings, including four consecutive seasons in the top 15. Kentucky ended the spring season with the second-most wins in school history behind a .778 winning percentage, which was the third highest in the history of the program. UK made it to the finals of the SEC Tournament for the second consecutive season and earned a berth in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season. Senior Eric Quigley continued UK’s success by becoming the third player in school history to advance to the finals of the NCAA Singles Championship. Quigley would fall in the finals to defending singles champion Steve Johnson.

    After fighting stormy weather all day, the 23rd-ranked LSU men's tennis team's season came to a close after falling victim to the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils, 4-1, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, N.C.  Veteran player and senior Neal Skupski provided the biggest highlight of the day, picking up the lone 6-1, 6-4 victory for the Tigers over Duke's 38th-ranked Chris Mengel.  The Tigers concluded their 2012 campaign with the record of 15-11.  Skupski and Olivier Borsos have been selected, along with 62 other players in the nation, to participate in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

    Ole Miss
    Ole Miss led the SEC and tied with NCAA runner-up Virginia for the most All-Americans in the country at four.  Senior twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann, junior Jonas Lutjen and freshman Nik Scholtz earned the honor to bring the total of All-Americans in the history of the program to 28.  All four helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and a final national ranking of No. 14.   The Rebels have finished ranked in the top 15 a record 17 times since 1994.  Scholtz, the SEC Freshman and ITA Southern Region Rookie of the Year, led the Rebels in the final individual rankings, at No. 14 in singles and No. 10 in doubles.  He finished as the second highest ranked freshman in the nation and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals in singles, marking the fourth year in a row for a Rebel to reach the Elite Eight in singles.  Scholtz became the first Rebel to earn the SEC’s top rookie honor and was the only freshman in the nation to earn All-America honors in both singles and doubles.  In addition he is the second Rebel freshman in four years to earn All-America honors.  Marcel ended his career ranked No. 22 in singles and No. 11 in doubles, with his brother Chris.  The duo capped a great career reaching the NCAA Final Four in doubles.  They became the sixth Rebel tandem to reach the Final Four.  Marcel became the fourth player in Ole Miss men’s tennis history to earn All-America honors three times.  Lutjen ended the year ranked No. 44 in the nation in singles and No. 10 in doubles with Scholtz.  The Rebels boasted five players in the ITA Southern Regional Rankings including two of the top three in singles as well as the top two doubles teams.

    Mississippi State
    Mississippi State’s ninth-ranked men’s tennis squad ended their incredible SEC Western Division championship season with a heart-breaking 4-3 loss against the No. 25 Baylor Bears in the Second Round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships in Starkville, Miss. Three Bulldogs however will continue their season as they travel to Athens, Ga. and participate in the NCAA Individual field including No. 13 Artem Ilyushin, 50th-ranked Louis Cant and No. 56 George Coupland. Also, the 25th-ranked pair of Coupland and Ilyushin earned a bid to the doubles field.

    South Carolina
    South Carolina finished the season ranked No. 41 in the nation, its highest final mark since closing the 2009 campaign at No. 35. The Gamecocks made their 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament this spring, the first under second-year head coach Josh Goffi. Four Gamecocks played their way into the final individual rankings as well. Freshman Andrew Adams and senior Ivan Machado earned the Nos. 111 and 119 spots, respectively, in the singles rankings. The sophomore doubles team of Chip Cox and Nick Jones finished the season in the No. 29 spot in the nation. South Carolina posted a 15-12 record on the season with seven wins against nationally ranked foes, including five on the road. The Gamecocks lose just one player from their regular dual-match lineup as Machado closed out his four-year career ranked among the program's most active players. He is 15th in school history with 125 singles matches played, including 40 played in dual matches to rank ninth in the category. He holds the school record for doubles matches played in SEC competition with 42 and ranks 10th in the program in career doubles matches won with 63. A few returning Gamecocks also etched their names in the program record books this season. Adams's .725 (29-11) winning percentage in combined singles and doubles in dual matches ranked ninth in school history. Freshman Kyle Koch's 19 doubles wins in dual matches tied the school record, and his 26 doubles victories this season are the eighth-most in the history of the program.

    The Tennessee Volunteers' season ended with a 4-0 loss at North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Championships. The Vols, ranked 17th, finished with a 15-14 record and will return all six singles starters next season, including a trio of freshmen who played in the top three in the lineup. The year is not yet over for two of those freshmen: Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese. Libietis, ranked 28th nationally, will play in the NCAA Singles Championships. He and Reese will also team up for the doubles tournament. Libietis, Reese and junior Edward Jones each have a team-leading 20 singles wins this season. Jones was the team's only returning starter from the 2011 team.

    The Vanderbilt men's tennis team concluded its season with its fifth NCAA Tournament bid in the last six years. The third-seeded Commodores dropped a tough first round match, 4-3, to two-seed Notre Dame. The Commodores were led all season long by senior Charlie Jones. Jones was the SEC's Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Second Team All-SEC selection after posting a 14-9 dual match record at number one singles. Jones also qualified for the NCAA Singles Tournament for the first time in his career, falling in the first round to USC's Daniel Nguyen. Jones was joined on the all-conference second team by freshman Gonzales Austin. Austin also earned All-Freshman honors after going 14-9 in dual matches, including a 13-9 mark at number two singles. For the season, Vanderbilt posted an 8-16 record while ranking 40th nationally in the final ITA standings. Individually, Jones capped his career as the 49th-ranked singles player, while Austin ranked 56th at the end of the season.