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    SEC Men's Tennis Final Notebook

    Under first-year head coach George Husack, the Alabama men's tennis team finished with 14 wins, four more than it had last season, and returned to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2010. The Crimson Tide started its season strong, winning seven of its first eight matches, and made a run in the Southeastern Conference Championship, knocking off Arkansas and then-No. 6 Mississippi. In addition to advancing to postseason play as a team, Alabama was also represented by senior Jarryd Botha in the NCAA Singles Championships as well as the NCAA Doubles Championships by Botha and sophomore David Vieyra. Botha won his opening round match in the tournament, knocking off sixth-seeded Emilio Gomez of USC before falling to Tulsa’s Japie De Klerk, a 2013 semifinalist, in the Round of 32. In doubles, the Tide’s No. 1 duo earned a top-eight seed, garnering them All-America status, and advanced to the Round of 16.
    The University of Arkansas men’s tennis team finished its 2013 dual season campaign ranked 59 with a 16-16 overall dual record. The Razorbacks had some thrilling ranked wins over No. 75 UAB, No. 63 New Mexico and No. 38 Minnesota. The Hogs had a great season in doubles play taking 18 doubles points. The junior doubles team of Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott led the Razorbacks to many of those points. Jeske and Nott, ranked 24 in doubles play also received an at-large bid to the NCAA doubles Tournament in Urbana, Ill. 
    At NCAA’s Jeske and Nott won their first round matchup over Virginia’s Domijan and Frank who were ranked 21. The duo fell in the round of 16 to the No. 3 doubles team from Ole Miss of Schultz and Lutjen in an intense three-set match. Jeske and Nott are the first Arkansas team to appear in the NCAA doubles tournament since 2009.  Other strong performances for the Hogs came from seniors Gregoire Lehmann and Mike Ward. The duo clinched the doubles point for the Razorbacks against No. 5 Georgia in their last home match for Arkansas. Young players that stepped up this season include sophomore Victor Hoang and freshman Santiago Munoz. Hoang clinched the match point for the Razorbacks in a come from behind victory over New Mexico. Munoz played a large role for the Razorbacks playing at number three doubles with junior Hall Fess, while also playing at 3 or 4 in singles for most of the season. 
    Outside of the tough conference play, Arkansas went 16-3 falling only to now-No. 3 Virginia, No. 25 Tulsa and No. 52 Oregon. 
    The Auburn Tigers completed the 2012-13 men’s tennis season with an overall team record of 13-11, including a 5-7 mark in Southeastern Conference play. The Tigers finished with an overall national ranking of No. 29 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th consecutive season. Individually, senior Andreas Mies finished with a No. 14 ranking and All-America status after advancing to the quarterfinals in the NCAA Singles Championship, and the doubles team of Mies and junior Daniel Cochrane ended the season with a No. 6 national ranking and All-America status of their own as they also advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. It marked the first time in program history that Auburn had both a singles player and a doubles team advance to the NCAA quarterfinals in the same season. Mies was Auburn’s sixth all-time singles quarterfinalist, and Mies/Cochrane were the Tigers’ fifth all-time doubles quarterfinalists. Sophomore Lukas Ollert finished with the No. 108 national ranking in singles, and the team of Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso finished ranked 63rd nationally in doubles. Auburn will return four letter-winners for the 2013-14 season.
    The Florida men’s tennis team ended its first season in the Bryan Shelton era with a 15-11 record and berth in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The season saw a lot of ups and downs for the Gators, who faced 13 teams ranked in the top 25 and beat three teams ranked in the top 10. The season ended with a disappointing loss to Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Individually, Stephane Piro qualified for the singles championship but fell in the first round to No. 17 Kyle McMorrow from Washington. Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson made the doubles draw but also fell in the first round. Piro teamed with Bob van Overbeek in doubles and the duo had a successful tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals and earning All-America honors in the process. Looking ahead to next season, the Gators are primed for a breakout season. The squad returns five of seven players from this year and adds five talented players to the mix.
    The Georgia men's tennis team finished the 2013 season at 26-5 overall and one of the final four teams left standing in NCAA Tournament action as the Bulldogs reached the semifinals last month in Champaign, Ill., falling to eventual national champions Virginia in a tight 4-1 match. Georgia defeated Oklahoma and Pepperdine in round of 16 and quarterfinal action, respectively, before the meeting with the Cavaliers, as Georgia moved into the "Final Four" for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. Junior Garrett Brasseaux was named to the All-Tournament team after he won both his singles matches vs. the Sooners and Waves, then forced a third set in the UVA match after fighting off five team match points at No. 5 singles. The Bulldogs then had four players compete in the singles and doubles tournaments in Illinois, with the highlight coming as the fifth-ranked doubles team of Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters advancing to the national quarterfinals. Georgia returns six regular starters from 2012-13 next season.
    The University of Kentucky men’s tennis team completed another successful season in 2013 under the direction of first-year head coach Cedric Kauffmann. For the first time in program history, UK went to its fourth consecutive Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, advanced to the Elite Eight of the ITA National Indoor Championships and won five matches against top-10 teams in the nation. Kentucky was led all season in the one slot by senior Anthony Rossi, who ended his career 106-34 and finishes with the second-highest winning percentage of any UK tennis player in history. Kentucky returns five of its six singles starters and five of its doubles starters for the 2014 season and will once again be in line for a strong season in Southeastern Conference play. 
    The Tigers finished the 2013 season as the No. 22 team in the nation with two members on the All-SEC Second Team - sophomore Chris Simpson and senior Stefan Szacinski. Simpson, ranked No. 42 in singles, was named the Louisiana Player of the Year and pegged as a Player to Watch by the ITA for the Southern Region. Simpson lost in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship to Texas' Soren Hess-Olesen. Leading the Tigers to their 14th NCAA Tournament appearance in his 16-year tenure, LSU Head Coach was named the Louisiana Coach of the Year for the sixth time during his time at LSU. Additionally, Coach Danny Bryan was named as the Southern Region Assistant Coach of the Year by the ITA. The Tigers finish the season with a record of 16-12, going 5-7 in SEC play.
    Ole Miss
    Ole Miss concluded the 2013 season ranked No. 10 in the nation, marking the 15th time in the last 20 years to do so.  The Rebels are one of just four teams to accomplish that feat in 15 of the last 20 years.  The Rebels captured their 10th SEC West title this year, earned their 20th consecutive NCAA appearance and hosted the first and second rounds for the 11th time.  Sophomore Nik Scholtz and senior Jonas Lutjen advanced to the NCAA Final Four in doubles, becoming the seventh Rebel duo overall and second straight to advance to the semifinals.  Both Scholtz and Lutjen earned All-America honors for the second time, becoming the 12th and 13th players in the history of the program to earn the honor multiple years.  Lutjen finished his career with 85 wins in singles and 90 in doubles.  Off the court, the Rebels posted the highest GPA (3.39) among all Ole Miss men’s sports, and the entire team made the University Honor Roll.  Johan Backstrom and Adrian Forberg Skogeng were named to the Capital One Academic All-District At-Large Team.  Forberg Skogeng and Lutjen both graduated from the University of Mississippi.   Looking ahead to 2014, the Rebels will return four of the top six and will host the ITA Kick-Off Weekend for the fourth time.
    Mississippi State
    Closing out the sixth year under head coach Per Nilsson, who was named the 2013 ITA Southern Region Coach of the Year, the Mississippi State men's tennis squad continued to make their climb back into national prominence. After reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 2001, the Bulldogs garnered numerous individual awards on and off the court. Freshman Romain Bogaerts pulled in ITA National Rookie of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year honors, while junior Malte Stropp was named All-SEC Second Team. In the classroom, the Bulldogs achieved the highest GPA of all male sports on the MSU campus, with Stropp and senior James Chaudry pulling in perfect 4.0's. All eight student-athletes were named to either the President's Scholar or Dean's Scholar lists.
    South Carolina
    South Carolina finished head coach Josh Goffi's third season at the helm ranked 18th in the nation, the program's highest finish since the 2004-05 squad came in at No. 16. The Gamecocks took big strides this season with three All-SEC selections (a first since 1999) and Goffi earning the program's first SEC Coach of the Year honors. South Carolina's 18 wins were the most since 2005, and the Gamecocks tied the school record with seven SEC victories to finish a program-best tied for third in the league standings. The Gamecocks knocked off four top-20 teams this season and saw all six singles entries record at least three SEC wins for the first time since 2003. Junior Tsvetan Mihov closed his first season in the Garnet and Black by reaching the Round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championships after becoming one of only three players in school history to accumulate at least six SEC singles wins from the No. 1 spot in the lineup. South Carolina will return five of its six singles starters for the 2013-14 season.
    The Tennessee Volunteers (26-9) wrapped up the 2013 season by reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships for the third time in four years and came it at No. 6 in the ITA national team rankings. For leading the Vols back to the top 10 with nearly a completely different squad than the one that was ranked No. 1 in 2011, Sam Winterbotham was voted the ITA National Coach of the Year and Chris Woodruff was named the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year. It only took one look at the top of the lineup to see one obvious indicator of the coaches' success in player development. Sophomore Mikelis Libietis ended the year ranked No. 3 in singles and doubles and became the first Vol since 1987 to receive the ITA National Player to Watch award. He led the Vols in wins with a 37-7 singles record with doubles partner Hunter Reese not far behind with 31 wins at the No. 2 position. Both earned All-America honors for the first time in their careers because of their top-10 ranking. Senior Edward Jones finished his Tennessee career with 93 doubles victories, the seventh most in UT history. Looking ahead to next fall, the Vols are set to return their top four starters: Libietis, Reese, Brandon Fickey and Jarryd Chaplin. 
    Texas A&M
    The 2013 SEC Western Division champion Texas A&M Aggies finished the season at 19-13 and 7-5 in Southeastern Conference play. A&M advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships held at the Khan Tennis Complex in Urbana, Illinois. The No. 12 seed Aggies dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 5 seed Ohio State.  At the NCAA Individual Championships, the All-American duo of Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore advanced to the Round of 16 before being eliminated. On the singles side, Jeremy Efferding was named to the tournament field; however, he was eliminated in the first round. In the final ITA rankings, the Maroon and White finished at No. 14.
    The Vanderbilt men’s tennis team completed the 2012-13 season with an appearance in the Sweet 16 and an overall record of 18-11. The 18 wins are the most under head coach Ian Duvenhage. The Commodores finished the season ranked No. 15 in the final ITA rankings after beginning the year ranked No. 40. Vanderbilt was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by No. 1 UCLA, 4-0, in the Sweet 16 in Urbana, Ill. Ryan Lipman made it to second round of the NCAA Singles Championships, while Gonzales Austin was knocked out in the first round. Lipman finished the season with an overall mark of 31-11 and Austin at 25-13.