Upstate Tennis Adds Six Players
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – USC Upstate head men's and women's tennis coach Oliver Trittenwein announced today the signing of six players to the Spartan tennis program. Jacob Darling and Yvon Haessig will join the men's squad while Hannah Al-Sakati, Julie Bell, Lauren Byars and Isabel Von Stryk will join the women's team.
"I am proud to introduce this new group of players that will be representing our fine tennis program at Upstate," said Trittenwein. "We hope to continue the tradition and success that the Spartan program has enjoyed during its history. These young men and women will be great additions to the current line-up that will be returning this fall as we compete for top honors in the Atlantic Sun Conference."
Jacob Darling (Katikati, New Zealand) will arrive in Spartanburg after a two-year stint at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. As a sophomore, Darling played at both singles No. 5 and No. 6 while playing No. 3 doubles. The Bobcats advanced to the conference semifinals and finished the season ranked 23rd-nationally. During Darling's freshman season, the team won the conference championship and posted a final ranking of 19 after dropping just one conference match all season.
Yvon Haessig (Vancouver, Canada) will join Upstate after spending his freshman campaign at Union College in Barbourville, Ky. Haessig posted an 18-6 mark in singles action while posting a 20-4 record in doubles action. He was part of the No. 10 Bulldog squad that finished the season 18-6 overall and advanced to the second round of the NAIA National Championship. Haessig's strong rookie campaign earned him NAIA Second-Team All-Star honors and he was named a NAIA Champion of Character.
Hannah Al-Sakati (Duisburg, Germany) is set to join the women's squad after a strong junior tennis career. Al-Sakati participates in the highest league, Niederrheinliga, as part of the Duetscher Tennis Bund (DTB). She currently ranks 113 (DTB) in U-18 singles and sits 505 (DTB) in women's singles. She is ranked 24th regionally in U-18 singles and peaked as high as 425 in women's singles in 2009. In 2009, Al-Sakati claimed second place at the International Tournament in Wuppertal, Germany.
Julie Bell (Lubbock, Texas) joins the Spartan program after two strong seasons at Tyler (Texas) Junior College. Bell was part of TJC's back-to-back National Championship squads (2010 & 2011, NJCAA). She was a two-time All-American selection. In 2010, she was a national champion at flight number six and fell just short of national championship in 2011 after dropping the championship match (flight five). Bell also excelled in the classroom as she posted a perfect 4.0 GPA two different semesters.
Lauren Byars (Greer, S.C.) makes the short trip up Interstate 85 after wrapping up her prep career at Greer High School. Byars posted a 12-6 mark as a senior and earned the team's Most Improved award. The 2010-11 season was Greer's first season at the 5-A level after moving up from 4-A classification. Byars was also a member of the track and field team at Greer.
Isabel Von Stryk (Holm, Germany) is the fourth and final member to join the women's tennis team beginning this fall. Von Stryk began playing tennis at the age of six and has participated in tennis tournaments all over the country. She claimed the DTB Talent Cup Essen while playing with the tennis team of Schleswig-Holstein. She also earned the Fairness Prize from the federal/state Schleswig-Holstein for her fairness, calmness, balance and kind behavior on the court.