October 16, 2007

Tennis Squads Ready For ITA Regionals

Oct. 16, 2007

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. - This weekend, the USC Upstate men's and women's tennis teams will get their first taste of Division I regional play, as the men travel to Virginia for the ITA Mideast Regionals and the women head to North Carolina for the ITA Southeast Regionals. The tournaments kick off on Wednesday and Thursday with qualifying play and start main draw play on Friday.

Meet Virginia
The USC Upstate men's tennis team is headed to the campus of the University of Virginia this week for the ITA Mideast Regionals. Four players will compete in the qualifying rounds on Wednesday and Thursday before the main draw starts play on Friday. Senior Sebastian Gonzales-Orbegoso and sophomores Jack Roux, Javier Tori, and Renzo Airaldi will compete in the qualifying rounds and Roux and Tori will try to qualify for the main draw in doubles play. In singles play, junior Sandy Franz has earned a bid directly into the main draw, which starts on Friday, and he and Airaldi are also in the main draw for doubles.

Going To The Chapel Hill
The USC Upstate women's tennis team heads to the campus of the University of North Carolina for the ITA Southeast Regionals this week. Two players will compete in the qualifying rounds on Wednesday and Thursday before the main draw starts on Friday. Senior Susana Hernandez and freshman Emilia Milovanovic will compete in singles play to reach the main draw. Junior Anna Novo, who has started the year 9-0, will start play in the main draw on Friday and she will also team with Milovanovic in the main draw in doubles play.

Franz, Airaldi Take Titles At USC Fall Invitational
Junior Sandy Franz showed signs that he can be a dominant player at the Division I level as he took the A-1 singles flight at the USC Fall Invitational, downing both the tournament's No. 1 and No. 5 seeds en route to the finals. Sophomore Renzo Airaldi, likewise, showed off his ability at the tournament, winning five matches en route to the B-2 singles crown. The only other school to win two singles crowns at the tournament was the Big East's 2007 third-place finisher, South Florida. Sophomore Jack Roux also won three matches en route to reaching the tournament semifinals in the A/B singles bracket.

So Far, So Good
Junior Anna Novo has led the Spartan women's team into the DI era with a remarkable run of great play this fall, as she hasn't lost a singles or doubles match with partner freshman Emilia Milovanovic yet. Novo claimed the top-flight singles titles at the Upstate Fall Tournament and the Residence Inn Wolfpack Invitational at N.C. State, running up a perfect 9-0 record. She also picked up the doubles titles at both events, posting an 8-0 mark with Milovanovic.

A Century's Worth of Wins
The USC Upstate women's team has two members who have crossed 100-career wins. Senior Diana Martinez was the first to cross the mark, doing so with an 8-3 doubles win with partner Maria Herrera at Columbus State in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2007. Martinez has 57 singles wins and 51 doubles victories. Senior Susana Hernandez just crossed the mark, winning her last match at the Wofford Fall Challenge, 6-0, 6-3, over High Point's Caroline Mount. Hernandez has walked away victorious 49 times in singles and 51 times and doubles.

Passing 80
Senior Sebastian Gonzales-Orbegoso reached 80 combined wins in his career at the Wofford Fall Challenge, going a perfect 5-0 on the weekend, winning two singles matches and three doubles matches. Gonzales-Orbegoso, whose brother, Diego, was also a letterwinner at Upstate, has posted an impressive 41-24 career doubles record and a 42-22 singles mark. He won two more matches at the USC Fall Invitational before falling in his first singles match of the season, getting bester in three sets by teammate sophomore Renzo Airaldi.

Nearing 70, 50
Doubles partners junior Sandy Franz and sophomore Renzo Airaldi will have a shot at passing individual milestones in their careers. Franz, the 6-6 German who finished 2007 ranked 25th in Division II singles, is one win shy of 70 in his career, having racked up an impressive 36-10 singles record and a 33-12 doubles mark. Airaldi is four wins shy of a combined 50 in his career. The 2007 ITA Division II Doubles All-American is 18-2 in his singles career and 28-7 in doubles play.

Beating The Best
As if an 11-1 record weren't enough to impress any opponent, junior Sandy Franz has also played his best this season when playing players ranked in the ITA Preseason Top 125. He posted a three-set win against Florida's 91st-ranked Nestor Briceno, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4, at the Southern Intercollegiates. In his other meeting against a ranked opponent, Franz downed Charlotte's 62nd-ranked Roy Sichel in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.

Winning Ways
So far this season, the men's team has an combined 64-27 record, a winning percentage of .703. The women are 49-18, a winning clip of .731.

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