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Tennis Hogs Earn Final Top 25 Ranking for Third Time in Five Years; Record Most Wins Since 1989

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Tennis Hogs Earn Final Top 25 Ranking for Third Time in Five Years; Record Most Wins Since 1989

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After finishing with its highest win total in 17 years, the Arkansas tennis team ended the 2006 season ranked 22nd in the FILA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association national rankings and second in the regional rankings, released last week by the ITA.

The No. 22 rankings marks the 16th time since 1979 the Razorbacks have finished in the ITA final Top 25, and the 20th time the Hogs ended in the Top 40.

The Razorbacks were 18-11 in 2006, the most wins since the 1989 squad also recorded 18 victories. The Hogs earned their fifth NCAA Tournament bid in six years and advanced to the regional final for the fifth time in their past six appearances.

Arkansas was 6-5 in Southeastern Conference play, finishing third in the Western Division and sixth overall. UA won 13 matches against ranked opponents.

Arkansas finished the year ranked No. 2 in the ITA Central Region behind Oklahoma St. The Razorbacks were 9-1 in regional contests this season, with their only loss coming to Oklahoma St. on April 12.

Head coach Robert Cox lead the Hogs to the ITA Central Region Team Championship, earning a trip to the ITA National Indoor Championships. Cox, the winningest tennis coach in UA history, increased his career victories tally to 247.

Four Razorbacks were named to the All-Southeastern Conference teams. Senior Adrians Zguns garnered First Team accolades for the second time in his career. Classmate Matt Roberts was named to the Second Team squad for the second consecutive season. Freshman Blake Strode captured Second Team honors in his first collegiate campaign.

Zguns also earned All-America honors, becoming the 16th Hog to do so and the first since Oskar Johansson in 2001. Zguns advanced to the round of 16 of the NCAA Individual Draw Championships in Palo Alto, Calif.

In the final FILA/ITA national singles rankings, Zguns and Roberts close their careers at Nos. 18 and 78, respectively.

Regionally, Zguns finishes No. 3, with Roberts at No. 6. Senior Rohan Gajjar concludes his UA career ranked No. 9 in the region, while Strode, who won 27 matches in his first season, is ranked 10th in the region heading into next season. Colin Mascall, who transferred to Arkansas for the spring semester, ends his sophomore season ranked 27th in the region.

Arkansas’ doubles team of Roberts and Gajjar is ranked 4th regionally, while Zguns and Strode are 9th.

Zguns, Roberts and Gajjar leave the Razorbacks after combining to win over 260 matches in their Arkansas careers. Zguns, who won 36 matches in 2004 and 26 in 2006, finishes third on the all-time charts with 102 career wins. Roberts, who won 26 outings in 2005 and 28 in 2006, is ninth with 84. Gajjar, who averaged over 20 wins a year, claimed 75 victories in his three and a half seasons at Arkansas.

In the national rankings, national champion Pepperdine is No. 1, while SEC members Georiga (2nd), Ole Miss (13th) and Florida (16th) are also ranked in the top 20. All 12 SEC schools were ranked in the top 75.

Download: UA Tennis Complete Stats 2006.pdf



Sports Category : Tennis (M)