TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The 13th ranked University of Alabama men’s tennis team headed on its first trans-Pacific trip this week to face off against unranked Hawai’i Thursday, January 10 in its first dual match of the 2008 season. The Crimson Tide returned from the break last Saturday to hold its first official practice of the spring before getting on a plane to Hawaii Sunday morning.
“We're exciting for the opportunity to go to Hawaii to kick off the spring dual match season,” said Alabama head coach Billy Pate. “I think this is the first experience for any of our guys to visit here.”
Alabama returns the bulk of the 2007 NCAA Sweet Sixteen squad and in addition gains junior transfer Michael Jung, who is expected to compete for a spot in the lineup this spring. Jung is the brother of former Tide tennis standout Joseph Jung. Freshman Trey Walston, who had a surprising fall, will also embark on his first dual match season as a member of the Tide.
Up one spot in the ITA preseason poll from the final 2007 rankings, Alabama heads into the dual match season with one ranked individual and one ranked doubles tandem. Junior Mathieu Thibaudeau begins the spring campaign with a No. 98 national ranking and is joined by the duo of senior Sammy Struyf and sophomore Saketh Myneni at No. 34 in the doubles rankings.
“We have a tough task in taking on a very strong Hawaii team,” said Pate. “They played a competitive match with Stanford last semester, but without all of their players. I expect them to have new additions along with the talented group they have. We need to get acclimated to the humid, outdoor conditions in the next three days and be ready to go against them on Thursday."
Hawaii is led by sophomore Andreas Weber, who heads into the dual match season ranked No. 25 nationally after a strong freshman season and fall campaign.
After three full days of practice in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Crimson Tide kicks off the dual match season against the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors at the UH Tennis Complex at 5:00 pm CST, 1:00 pm UTC.
Live statistics for the match will not be available, however, complete match results can be found at www.rolltide.com immediately following the conclusion of the match.
For more information on Alabama men’s tennis, visit www.rolltide.com.