Men's Tennis Preview
Jan. 14, 2013
Old Dominion University men's tennis returns all but one player from last season's lineup that went 13-10 and reached the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals. The Monarchs will enter new territory with a mix of old and new as they begin life in Conference USA.
"We set goals for ourselves all the time, but the expectation is to be the best that we can be," head coach Aljosa Piric said. "If we're able to achieve that we will be able to see good results. We look for them to train hard every day in practice and when match time comes let the chips fall where they may."
The Monarchs open up play Friday, Jan. 18 at No. 59 Georgia Tech before hosting Norfolk State Sunday, Jan. 20 in the home opener. The Monarchs host 10 home matches in all and also face stiff road competition, traveling to No. 28 Harvard, No. 42 UNC Wilmington, No. 43 Virginia Tech and No. 49 Dartmouth.
"We have some really tough away matches, it's a tough schedule but its in line with what we want to achieve as a team," Piric said.
ODU is officially in Conference USA and will compete in the conference tournament starting April 18 in Memphis, Tenn.
"We're looking forward to it. C-USA is a good conference for tennis, typically they have several teams nationally ranked and others right on the verge."
One of two returning seniors is Albert Ochagavia. After a solid sophomore season in which he earned All-CAA honors, Ochagavia battled injuries last season going 9-8 in singles.
"Albert is a team captain and has filled that role tremendously. He sets the bar pretty high as to what needs to be done off the court and the way he trains every day," Piric said. "I think as a senior he's embraced the role of being a leader and looking forward to seeing this team doing the things we know we can do."
Ochagavia is joined by fellow senior Alfredo Rodriguez. Rodriguez was 9-11 last season while going 5-3 at No. 6 singles.
Carlos Lopez Villa burst onto the scene as a freshman last year, earning All-CAA honors and was voted team MVP. He finished second on the team with a 13-8 mark and was a solid 8-3 at No. 2 singles. Lopez Villa had a strong fall, knocking off three ranked opponents while he and doubles partner Can Cetinel are ranked No. 23 in the country.
"Carlos has done a great job at filling some pretty big shoes. He stepped into a role and embraced the college experience athletically and academically," Piric said. "I'm looking for him to keep improving and grow as a leader, not only on the court but off the court as well."
After transferring from Elon, Wesley Barrett led ODU with a 16-7 record as a sophomore last year playing between No. 4 and No. 5 singles. He and doubles partner Tim Schweig are ranked No. 34 to begin the season.
"Wes is a gamer, he shows up every day, trains hard and competes very well and that is the reason why he wins a lot. This year he understands some of the things he needs to improve on that will make him a better player," Piric said. "The competitive fire and energy is great and something we look for him to keep bringing to the table."
Sophomore Can Cetinel received valuable experience in his first season last year and will look to improve in his second year.
"Can's freshman year had some ups and downs and I think he learned a tremendous amount. We're looking for him to have sustainability of effort throughout adversity," Piric said. "He has great days and not so great. His ability to keep that effort up will allow him to reach his full potential."
Terenzio transferred to ODU from Louisville last year and is eligible to play this year while Glavin is also an eligible transfer from Memphis. Kuwert joins the Monarchs this January and is from Germany while Schweig and Podvinski began in the fall. Schweig is from the Netherlands and is part of the No. 34 ranked doubles team with Wesley Barrett while Podvinski is from Croatia.
"I think this freshmen class is very interesting, we have a lot of guys really buying into what we're trying to do," Piric said. "They bring a lot of energy, passion and love for the game and have really embraced this team and experience we're trying to offer here.