FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas netters Blake Strode and Matt Hogan received preseason singles rankings as the ITA released its first poll of the 2008-09 season. Strode will enter his senior season as the 41st-ranked player in the nation, while Hogan nabbed a spot at No. 125.
“This is nice recognition for both Blake and Matt,” head coach Robert Cox said. “Both were important pieces of our team last season and this is a good starting point for them with the season right around the corner. This is great for Blake who has been such a solid player for us the past three years and I’m really pleased for Matt to earn his first ranking going into his sophomore year.”
Strode, a two-time All-SEC selection, picked up 17 wins at the No. 1 singles position for the Razorbacks last season. He had four wins over ranked opponents, including dual-clinching victories against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Strode earned SEC Player of the Week honors after the two conference wins. He also led Arkansas with 19 doubles wins and teamed with Hogan over the final few weeks of the season.
Strode’s success extended beyond the court as he was named the 2008 SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year, a member of the SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll and a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree. The St. Louis, Mo., native, who enters his senior season with 71 career wins, was also the recipient of the Central Region’s ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship. Strode maintained a 3.96 cumulative grade point average as a double major in international economics and business and Spanish.
Hogan was a mid-year addition for the Razorbacks joining the team in January to begin the spring season. He began his career in Fayetteville winning nine of his first 10 matches, including a victory at the No. 4 position against Fresno State in the dual-season opener. During the year, Hogan played as high as No. 2 in Arkansas’ lineup. Hogan was a straight-sets winner in his first SEC match and collected victories in team wins over Kentucky and Mississippi State. Playing at No. 1 doubles, he and Strode were 2-2 in conference action with wins over South Carolina and Mississippi State.
The Razorbacks begin their season Sept. 12-14 with the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Md. Arkansas’ fall schedule also includes playing host of the ITA Central Championships (Oct. 16-20) in Fayetteville. For more details regarding UA tennis, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.