The Stetson men's tennis team is set to begin the 2013
spring season, its 20th under Director of Tennis Pierre Pilote. Last year, the Hatters' season ended with a
trip to the Atlantic Sun Conference semifinals, falling to eventual league
runner-up North Florida.
The Hatters' roster has a very different look this
season. After losing four seniors from
last year, including the top two singles players Maxsim Levanovich and Njal
Stene, the squad now features one senior, one junior, two sophomores, and four
"The squad this year offers a great blend of experience
from our returners and enthusiasm from the incoming players," Pilote said while
preparing for the start of the season. "This past fall semester really helped
each and every one to define their role within the team. It's definitely a fun
group to work with."
The most experienced Hatter is the lone senior, Didrik Berg
(Oslo, Norway). Berg spent most of last season as the #3 singles player, behind
Levanovich and Stene.
The only junior on the team is Hans Adrian Riseng (Oslo,
Norway). Riseng played primarily from the #4 singles slot a year ago, and was
paired with Stene as the top doubles team, which earned five straight victories
to end the season in 2012.
Two sophomores return from last season's squad with valuable
experience; Chester Espie (Auckland, New Zealand) and Nathan Debut (Toulon,
France). Debut and Espie anchored the bottom of the lineup for the Hatters,
playing primarily from the #5 and #6 singles spots.
The Hatters are sure to see plenty of playing time from a
talented group of freshmen. Simon Julin (Stockholm, Sweden) leads this group
after a strong fall season that earned him a ranking of 14 by the ITA in the
highly regarded Southeast Region. The
other freshmen for the Hatters are Laurynas Antropikas (Palanga, Lithuania),
Egor Panyushkin (Moscow, Russia), and Cahit Kapukiran (Izmir, Turkey).
When asked about this group of newcomers, Assistant Coach
Christophe Noblet said, "We are very pleased with this recruiting class.
All of them are working extremely hard on and off the court, and should have a
real positive impact on the team in the future."
The Stetson Men's Tennis team opens spring competition on
Thursday, January 24 against #57 St. John's University at the Mandy Stoll
Tennis Center in DeLand, Fla.
"It is a privilege to open the season against a nationally
ranked team like St. John's University," Pilote said. "It is a very exciting
challenge for this group, and we are looking forward to it."
After St. John's, Stetson will host three matches in
February before heading west. The Hatters will play two games against teams
from California; UC Riverside on March 6 and Loyola Marymount on March 7.
"This will definitely be an exciting trip, as many of
our players have never been to California," Noblet said. "It should certainly
create some unforgettable memories."
Following the road trip, the Hatters return home for six
straight matches. Stetson begins with Northern Illinois and Cleveland State on
March 11 and 12, respectively. On March 14, the Hatters host Atlantic Sun
Conference newcomer Northern Kentucky and follow that with a match on March 16
Two more matches against #45 Drake and Wisconsin-Green Bay
end the non-conference slate for Stetson.
"Our non-conference schedule is once again very
challenging, but our fans will be happy to see that all of those matches except
two will be held at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center," Pilote said.
On March 22 and 23, the Hatters travel to Georgia to take on
Kennesaw State and Mercer. Stetson will
then return to the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center for two matches to wrap up
competition in March. March 28 pits the
Hatters against #71 ETSU, the defending conference champions, and March 30 will
bring USC Upstate to DeLand.
The final two conference games for the Hatters are against
teams in the Sunshine state, playing at #64 North Florida on April 6 and
hosting Florida Gulf Coast on April 13.
"The level of competition within the conference keeps
improving each year," Pilote said about the A-Sun. "It would not be surprising to see four or
five nationally ranked teams from the league being ranked at one point this
The Atlantic Sun Conference Championship will take place in
Johnson City, Tenn. April 19-21.