Sept. 20, 2012
DALLAS, Texas (SMU) - The SMU men's tennis team will begin its 2012-13 campaign with three players headed to the NTC Invitational at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, and four going to the Tyler Invitational in Tyler, Texas.
The NTC Invitational is a premier tournament featuring some of the top teams and players in the nation, and Head Coach Carl Neufeld is excited about being there.
"I'm very proud we've been invited based on the talent of our players and our rich tradition," Neufeld said.
SMU has reason to be confident heading into the 2012-13 season, as the team returns two all-conference selections and brings in a talented group of freshmen. Senior Gaston Cuadranti, a Second Team All-Conference USA selection for singles, returns as SMU's leader in wins a year ago, including a five-match win streak March 10-19. Arturs Kazijevs made Second Team All-C-USA for doubles, and also earned C-USA Co-Freshman of the Year honors.
Three freshmen will be making their first collegiate appearances for SMU this season. Evan Bechtel, Nate Lammons, and Tony Russell will all make their debuts, and all have solid resumes already. Bechtel won the Ohio high school singles title in 2011, and led his team to a team championship as well. Lammons redshirted last season and won the Texas 5A doubles championship in 2011. The mechanical engineering major also advanced to the quarterfinals at Nationals in 2011 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Russell won numerous player of the year awards in the state of Florida as a high school senior last year, and was team captain the last two years.
After this weekend's matches, SMU will head to the All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., taking place Sept. 29-Oct. 7. On Oct. 12, the Mustangs will begin the Collin County Invitational in Plano, Texas. After that, SMU will head to the Texas Regional qualifiers hosted by TCU, to attempt to qualify for the National Indoor Championships back in New York City.
For the fall season, Neufeld hopes his team can return to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center by qualifying for the National Indoor Championships, completing a full circle for the season.
"Hopefully we'll go to the National Tennis Center twice," Neufeld said.