Terps Begin Spring Season This Weekend
Jan. 11, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Under third-year head coach Kyle Spencer, the Maryland men's tennis program has reached several milestones including earning a berth to the NCAA Championships last season for the first time since the field went to a single-elimination format in 1978.
With nine returning players, Spencer believes this team is ready to build upon last season's success while facing one of the toughest schedules in the country.
"We have another year of maturity under our belts," said Spencer. "I feel like this team is ready to make a big push. Our schedule is the toughest schedule we've ever had here at Maryland. We are going to be tested early. It's going to be a big task for the guys, but all of the guys have come back [from Christmas break] with an eagerness and a passion for this program."
Maryland, which enters the season ranked 38th, will play 12 opponents ranked in the top-40 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings and four within the first month of the season beginning with 30th-ranked Louisville on Jan. 22, and concluding with second-ranked Virginia on Feb. 8.
While Maryland's schedule is rigorous, the Terps' depth should allow them to compete with any team in the country. Maryland's nine returning starters accounted for 154-of-162 match victories led by junior John Collins.
Collins has led the Terps in victories each of the last two seasons and totaled 22 singles wins and 19 doubles victories in 2011. In the fall while recovering from injury, Collins posted a 2-4 singles record and an 8-4 doubles record playing with senior Maros Horny.
Collins and Horny captured the USTA/ITA Atlantic Region title in October and will enter the spring ranked 36th. Spencer believes the duo have the ability to beat top competition.
"I think Maros [Horny] is really experienced. He knows the positioning and he knows where he is supposed to be. John [Collins] is fiery, and Maros is relaxed and calm. They have the skill set to play against the best teams in the country," said Spencer.
"[Jesse] Kiuru did a great job over the summer getting himself physically fit," said Spencer. "He had a knee injury last year and it really slowed him down. He started to get things going toward the end of the season and won in straight sets against Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. He has become more of a complete player. Andy [Magee] did a lot of good work over the Christmas break. He really got his body in shape.
"The junior class is where I have seen the most improvement. We are talking about Tommy [Laine], Andy [Magee], Jesse [Kiuru], John [Collins], Sergio [Wyss] and David [Nguyen]. Those are the guys that have made big jumps within the last three to nine months."
The lone newcomer to the Terrapin squad is freshman Vlad Stefan. Stefan joined the Terps in the fall and quickly made an impact by winning the white draw at the UVa Ranked +1 Tournament in September. Stefan is ranked 121st after a 10-2 fall season.
Senior Mathias Sarrazin and sophomore Jan Surovic complete the Terps' roster. Sarrazin went 5-3 in singles matches in the fall and 5-1 in doubles winning the Georgetown Classic with Laine. Surovic won four singles matches and five doubles matches in the fall.
Maryland plays host to Temple at noon and Howard at 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Tennis Center at College Park to begin the season.