Spartans Finish Season Ranked 54th In ITA Rankings
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – For the ninth time in 10 years, the USC Upstate men's tennis team finished the season with an ITA ranking, as the team posted a Division I-era high ranking of 54th, the association announced on Monday. Led by the top three players in all-time wins at USC Upstate, the Spartans posted an 18-5 overall record, including three wins over teams that finished the year inside the nation's top 75 teams.
Upstate, which won the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season with a perfect 10-0 record, faced off against eight teams that finished amongst the top 75, posting wins over No. 61 San Diego (4-3, March 11), No. 70 Yale (6-1, March 16) and No. 51 ETSU (4-3, March 20). The tough schedule proved to be important in the team's success, as the Spartans also beat Big South champions Winthrop, 4-3 on March 23, and faced six teams that made the NCAA Tournament field en route to the team's first outright conference title in school history.
The Spartans, led by A-Sun Coach of the Year Alessandro De Marzo, rose from No. 72 in the preseason ITA rankings 18 spots to No. 54, reaching a high of No. 52 in the country after a 6-1 win over Stetson on April 1. Upstate was also ranked ahead of any other program in the state of South Carolina, including No. 55 Clemson and No. 57 South Carolina.
Upstate, still in its third year of the four-year provisional process to Division I, earned its second straight ITA postseason ranking, after finishing 70th in the nation in 2009 after posting a 22-3 record. The Spartans also posted postseason rankings in each of its last seven years in Division II from 2001-07, culminating in a final ranking of fifth after a 23-5 season in 2007.
The Spartans posted several firsts on the year, as two players earned All-A-Sun First Team honors for the first time in sophomore Edgar Rodriguez and senior Javier Tori. The team also tied an A-Sun Player of the Week record with five players earning the award during the season, led by three selections from Tori, who set an A-Sun record in single-season and career (5) player of the week awards.
The all-time wins leader at USC Upstate, Tori, a No. 3 singles player and a No. 1 doubles player, set the school record for singles (86), doubles (81) and combined (167) wins. He is the lone player in school history to win 20 singles matches in all three years and 20 doubles matches in all four years.
Roux completed his career with his second career Second Team All-A-Sun honors at No. 4 singles, as the 5-6 Chilean posted a 20-3 dual match record. He reached the qualifying doubles finals at the ITA All-American Championships with Javier Tori and he finished his career as the only player to win 15 singles matches in all four years at Upstate. He finished with 77 singles wins (second in school history) and 67 doubles wins (fifth) to make up his 144 career combined wins (second).
Airaldi finished his career with 55 singles wins (fifth in school history) and 84 doubles wins (second) to make up his 139 career combined wins (third). He was a Division II All-American as a freshman and he racked up Second Team All-A-Sun honors as a sophomore and junior.