|Netters Conclude Banner Season At No. 43|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW men’s tennis team, which enjoyed its fourth postseason appearance in five seasons this spring, piled up a plethora of “firsts” in 2012-13 and closed out the campaign ranked 43rd in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team rankings.
The Seahawks and sixth-year head coach Mait DuBois were ranked 14 times in the 16 weekly polls and soared to as high as No. 37 on Feb. 19.
“Our goal at the beginning of every season is always the same – to take another step forward as a program,” said DuBois. “I really feel good about what this group accomplished this year. Having success at the highest level has always been our ambition, and I believe we took another major stride forward this year.”
The team racked up numerous accomplishments in 2012-13:
(1) First NCAA Tournament victory (4-0 over South Carolina on May 10, 2013)
(2) Best win over a ranked opponent (#18 South Carolina)
(3) Highest national ranking for a singles player (Rafael Aita, #17, on Feb. 12, 2013)
(4) Highest national ranking for a doubles team (Kosta Blank/Chris Cooprider, #8, Feb. 12, 2013)
(5) First national qualifier in NCAA singles draw (Rafael Aita)
(6) First national qualifier in NCAA doubles draw (Kosta Blank/Chris Cooprider)
(7) First recipient of CAA Player-of-the-Year (Rafael Aita)
(8) First time to win CAA title without dropping a match (2-0)
(9) First undefeated season at home (13-0)
(10) First time for top-6 singles players and top-3 doubles teams to earn All-CAA honors
(11) Most shutout victories in season (13)
(12) Best singles percentage (.786) and doubles percentage (.815) in season
The Seahawks finished ahead of BCS heavyweights UNC Chapel Hill (52), Miami (55) and Arkansas (59) in the final ITA poll. UNCW was one of five teams in North Carolina singled out by the ITA. Duke (7), Wake Forest (19), N.C. State (35) and future CAA member Elon (64) also made the list.
UNCW captured its third Colonial Athletic Association championship in 2013 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in Durham, where the Seahawks stunned South Carolina before succumbing to Duke.
“Winning the conference title is always a highlight, but advancing in the NCAA Tournament and qualifying players for the individual tournaments were major goals for our program,” DuBois said.
“I’m very proud of the character our team displayed during the tough moments and how they came together as the season progressed. To accomplish all of this while having five players make straight ‘A’s’ in the classroom, with eight on the honor roll, shows that this was a very special group.
“All of our success was based on the foundation that our alumni built. Players like (Gustavo) Bertei, (Michael) Pereira, (Kinshuk) Sharma, (Alex) Wetherell and (Illia) Ziamtsou were all big parts of our success and I know they still take great pride in how we do. We appreciate them attending matches this year, especially Kinshuk, who came all the way from India to support the team at the CAA Tournament.”
The ITA is scheduled to release its final singles and doubles rankings on June 5 and the Seahawks should be represented on that list as well.