ITA Kick-Off Weekend Coming to Malibu on Friday and Saturday

Mousheg Hovhannisyan

Jan. 24, 2013

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MALIBU, Calif. - After opening the 2013 season with two dual victories, the #7 Pepperdine men’s tennis team welcomes #33 Florida State, #45 Drake and #53 Denver to the courts of the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center on Jan. 26-27 for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Across the nation, 60 schools will be competing for the 15 vacant spots at the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship which will be hosted next month by Washington. 

The 15 universities hosting ITA Kick-Off Weekend events were designated as host sites in order of their year-end 2012 ITA team ranking. In Malibu, the top-seeded Waves will face the No. 4 seeded Pioneers at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, the Seminoles and the Bulldogs, square off at 1 p.m. The winners meet on Sunday at 1 p.m., preceded by a consolation match at 10 a.m.

COVERAGE - Live scores will be available for all four matches this weekend and can be followed at: Additionally, fans can follow updates on Twitter by following the Waves @PeppTennis. For compete coverage from all 15 Kick-Off Weekend sites, visit official ITA event page, follow the ITA on Twitter @ITATennis or search for the hashtag #ITAKickOff.

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL  - Link to live scores and results for all four matches can be found at the Tournament Central:

LOOKING AHEAD - Following the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the Waves host Texas on Sunday, Feb. 3 for a 12 p.m. start time. The Longhorns are currently ranked #17 in the ITA rankings.

LOOKING BACK - The Waves opened the season with a 7-0 sweep vs. Pacific at home on Jan. 20 and followed that up with a 6-1 triumph at #22 Washington.

COME ONE COME ALL - Admission to all regular-season men’s and women’s tennis matches at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center is FREE.

SCOUTING THE FIELD - Florida State stands at #33 in the team ranking and is 6-0 this season ... Ranked singles players for the Seminoles include Benjamin Lock (#99) and Dominic Cotrone (#107), while Lock and Andres Bucaro are #27 in the doubles poll ... Drake is ranked #45 as a team and will open the dual season in Malibu ... Four Bulldogs are in the singles rankings including Anis Ghorbel (#35), James McKie (#68), Alen Salibasic (#86) and Ben Mullis (#109) ... McKie and Ghorbel are rated #16 in doubles ... Denver also opens the dual campaign this weekend and is ranked #53 as a team ... Enej Bonin (#47) and Fabio Biasion (#77) both represent the Pioneers in the singles rankings.

RANKINGS - The Waves open the season at #7 in the team rankings, while Sebastian Fanselow is currently ranked #6 in singles. For complete ITA team, singles and doubles rankings, visit:

ROSTER - Pepperdine returns five players from last year’s squad, including two-time singles All-American Sebastian Fanselow. Finn Tearney, who played #2 singles and #1 doubles last season as a junior, is also back as well as senior Mousheg Hovhannisyan. Hovhannisyan played #4 singles in 2012. David Sofaer is back for his junior campaign. As a sophomore, he and partner Hugh Clarke tallied 24 dual-season doubles wins -- the second most in a single season in the Pepperdine record book. Kento Tanaka-Tamaki enters his sophomore season with the Waves, and is joined by junior transfers Francis Alcantara (Fresno State) and Alex Sarkissian (Glendale Community College) as well as freshman Damian Gryzelko.

TWITTER - Fans can follow the Waves on Twitter @PeppTennis or @PepperdineWaves and “like” us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Athletics.

NATIONAL INDOOR RECAP - Sebastian Fanselow, who did not compete for the majority of the fall season, made his return to the court at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship in Flushing, N.Y. in November. After defeating two top-10 ranked opponents in straight sets, Fanselow was pitted against #8-ranked and top seeded Alex Domijan in the semifinals. After splitting the first two sets, the duo fought all the way to a 6-6 tie in the third. Fanselow held serve and proceed to break Domijan’s serve at love to secure the match 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Fanselow later fell to Domijan’s teammate, Jamere Jenkins, in the finals but not before he was named the USTA/ITA Sportsmanship Award recipient.

WCC PLAYER OF THE MONTH - Sebastian Fanselow was the West Coast Conference singles player of the month for November, after his run at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship.

CLAY COURT SUCCESS - While Fanselow was in New York, Finn Tearney was down in Florida competing at the Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic. The senior went a perfect 4-0 in singles to win the title. Tearney also reached the doubles semifinal, along with partner Kento Tanaka-Tamaki.

Adam Steinberg - Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Waves, Adam Steinberg enters the 2013 season with a career record of 278-149 including a 148-70 mark at Pepperdine. Since setting foot on the Malibu campus in 2003, Steinberg has captured six WCC conference championships, six appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and an NCAA Championship crown in 2006. He has tutored 16 Waves to All-American status, and has been named WCC Coach of the Year six times. Prior to coming to Pepperdine, Steinberg served as the head coach at Alabama and St. John’s for five seasons apiece.

2012 MEN’S DUAL RECAP - The Waves finished the 2012 season with a 27-7 record and concluded the season ranked #6 in the Campbell’s/ITA Collegiate Rankings. The men’s squad won a program-record 24 dual matches in a row and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament after upsetting Georgia 4-3 in the quarterfinals. The previous win-streak record was held by the 1985 team that strung together 20 wins, finishing the season 30-7 and ranked #6 in the country.

2012 AWARDS RECAP - Sebastian Fanselow was named the Pepperdine Athletics Male Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Daniel Moss was voted Wave of the Year. Fanselow was also named WCC Player of the Year. Fanselow and Finn Tearney made the All-WCC singles first team roster, while Alex Llompart was a second team honoree. In doubles, the duos of Tearney/Llompart and Jenson Turner/Fanselow were voted to the All-WCC first team, and David Sofaer/Hugh Clarke picked up on an honorable mention. Sofaer earned WCC All-Academic team recognition. Adam Steinberg was recognized as the WCC Co-Coach of the Year. On Monday, the ITA released its regional awards winners. Steinberg was named Southwest Coach of the Year. Fanselow was dubbed the Player to Watch in the Southwest region and later recognized as the national award winner. He also picked up All-American accolades in singles for the second-straight year.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.



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