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Men's tennis set to open 2012 season at Vanderbilt

Blue Raiders begin quest to defend Sun Belt title

January 17, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men’s tennis team begins its quest to defend last year’s Sun Belt title when the Blue Raiders open the 2012 campaign on Wednesday. MT begins the spring slate with five matches on the road, starting with a trip up I-24 to take on in-state foe and 37th ranked Vanderbilt. The two teams will square off at 2 p.m. in the Currey Tennis Center.

Following the match in Nashville, the Blue Raiders will travel to Blacksburg, Va., for the weekend to participate in the Larsen Bowker Invite hosted by No. 34 Virginia Tech. In addition to the hosting Hokies, MT also will face Columbia and Davidson during the tournament.

“To start the season with five matches on the road will be a great test for our team,” head coach Jimmy Borendame said. “We will face a pair of nationally ranked programs and several nationally ranked players, so it will challenge our team and give each player the opportunity to make a statement against some tough competitors.”

The youthful Blue Raider squad features six freshmen, two sophomores and one senior. Matthew Langley, the lone senior and the Most Outstanding Player from last year’s conference tournament, finished the fall 4-5 in singles action, including a victory over 99th ranked Jesus Bandres of ETSU.

After earning all-league honors last season, sophomore Ben Davis paced the Blue Raiders in the fall with a 7-3 singles record. In the final tournament of the fall, Davis advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to No. 55 Josh MacTaggart of Indiana. His key fall victory came against 77th ranked Maniel Bains of Oklahoma State.

Freshman Ettore Zito came on strong at the end of the season, winning four straight matches to claim his flight at the Crimson Tide Fall Championships. Zito finished the fall 8-4 in singles play.

Marlon Brand, Cameron Dickerson and Forrest Edwards also saw their first collegiate action during the fall season, while Dimitri Pippos returned for his sophomore campaign.

Two new faces will make their MT debuts this spring. Yannick Born and Christoph Lang signed in November and will likely have an early impact on the Blue Raider squad for the 2012 season.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.