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Contact: David Beall, email@example.com
MACON, Ga. – The USC Upstate men's tennis team is set to appear in its second consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference Championship this weekend and will do so with the top player in the league after Matthias Kidler was named the A-Sun Player of the Year Thursday afternoon by the conference office.
Kidler earns A-Sun Player of the Year honors after not dropping a single set in conference action and finishing the league slate at 7-0 at No. 1 singles. He also added a 5-2 mark in doubles and enters postseason play on an A-Sun-best 11-match winning streak. He was ranked for five consecutive weeks during the season and holds a 15-3 overall record on the year.
Ramon Simonetti added to the honors, when he was a unanimous selection to the A-Sun All-Freshman team, finishing the regular season with back-to-back singles wins to help clinch Upstate's second consecutive appearance in the A-Sun Championship. He added a 5-2 conference record in doubles play, teaming up with Kidler to provide a perfect 4-0 record at the top doubles spot.
Kidler and Yvon Haessig were also recognized from the conference office as members of the Academic All-Conference Team as two of the eight members. Haessig carries a 3.89 grade point average, while Kidler serves up a 3.31 GPA as the top player in the A-Sun.
With the awards in hand, Upstate now turns its attention to the opening round of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Men's Tennis Championship set to take place this weekend in Johnson City, Tenn., on the campus of ETSU.
The Spartans enter the championship as the No. 5 seed and will take on No. 4 seed FGCU Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the opening round. Upstate fell to the Eagles 5-2 on March 28, but have since won four of five matches, including a four-match winning streak to end the regular season.
North Florida captured the A-Sun regular season championship and takes the top overall seed in the tournament. The Ospreys await the winner of Upstate and FGCU in the semifinals, while No. 2 seed ETSU will play the winner of Friday's quarterfinal between Stetson and Lipscomb.
The Spartans ended the regular season with a pair of home victories over Northern Kentucky and Lipscomb, before hitting the road and sweeping a two-match Peach State swing against Kennesaw State and Mercer.
Upstate's current four-match winning streak is its longest of the year after winning consecutive matches just one other time during the season. That two-match streak came against Elon and Texas-Pan American March 9 and 13.
The Spartans projected lineup for Friday's matchup with FGCU is no surprise at the top of the order with Kidler looking to stay unbeaten at No. 1 singles. Simonetti will play at No. 2 singles, followed by Haessig at No. 3, Viktor Selander at No. 4, Gonzalo Blanco at No. 5 and Jamie Yates at No. 6.
Doubles action will feature Kidler and Simonetti at the top spot, followed by Haessig and Blanco at No. 2 and Selander and Yates at No. 3.