#12 Waves Host BYU, Cal Poly and Vanderbilt in ITA Kick-Off Weekend Action

Finn Tearney

Jan. 26, 2012

MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine men’s tennis team’s spring season shifts into full gear this Friday and Saturday (Jan. 27-28) when the Waves serve as a host site for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Pepperdine, BYU, Vanderbilt and Cal Poly will be battling it out on the courts of the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center for a chance to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships next month.

Nation wide, 60 schools will be competing across the country for the 15 vacant spots at the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship, to be hosted next month by Virginia.

The 15 universities hosting ITA Kick-Off Weekend events were designated as host sites in order of their year-end 2011 Campbell/ITA team ranking. As the #1 seed, Pepperdine, who finished last season ranked #15, will compete in a dual with the fourth-seeded Cal Poly at 10 a.m. Friday morning. The #2 and #3 seeds, BYU and Vanderbilt, respectively, take to the courts at 2 p.m.

The winner of each match will meet in a championship dual on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m.

MATCH #2 - Friday (Jan. 27) at Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center: #12 Pepperdine (1-0) vs. #52 Cal Poly (0-2) at 10 a.m.

MATCH #3 - Saturday (Jan. 28) at Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center: TBD

COVERAGE - Live scoring updates will be available for both of Pepperdine’s matches, and can be accessed at: http://www.pepperdinesports.com/livestats/m-tennis/xlive.htm

LOOKING BACK - The Waves spent over eight hours trying to finish a rain-hindered match with Fresno State on Jan. 22, before the decision was made to reschedule the dual. In what became the season opener by default, Pepperdine defeated Loyola Marymount 6-1 on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

SCOUTING THE FIELD - BYU (1-2) is ranked #49, but is coming off losses at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA. The Cougars have three singles players ranked including Georgy Batrakov (#43), Keaton Cullimore (#67) and Patrick Kawka (#106). Cal Poly sits at #52 in the rankings and is led by #22-ranked Andre Dome. Vanderbilt (1-0) touts the highest ranking aside from Pepperdine at #36, and has one player in the singles rankings: Charlie Jones (#87)

WHAT’S NEXT - The Waves are Eastward bound next week, facing Ohio State and Kentucky on the road. The Buckeyes are currently ranked #3 in the nation, while Kentucky is listed at #7.

TEAM RANKINGS - The Waves start out the dual campaign listed at #12 on the Campbell’s/ITA Collegiate rankings after ending the 2011 season in the #15 spot. Other WCC schools to be recognized as a top-75 team include San Diego (#27), BYU (#49), Santa Clara (#50) and Saint Mary’s (#64).

SINGLED OUT - Four Pepperdine student-athletes have been honored with a spot in the singles rankings to open the 2012 dual season. Topping the list for the Waves is Sebastian Fanselow at #21 and Finn Tearney at #35. Mousheg Hovhannisyan follows at #49 while Hugh Clarke rounds out the list at #106.

WELCOME BACK - Alex Llompart returns to the line up after missing the fall tournament portion of the season. The senior captain held down the #3 spot in the singles line up in 2011 and concluded the season ranked #75 on the singles poll.

2011 FALL RECAP - The Waves had a solid fall season, and collectively tallied 40 singles victories. Mousheg Hovhannisyan went a team-best 9-3 which included a pair of victories versus ranked opponents. Hugh Clarke, Sebastian Fanselow and Finn Tearney all earned seven singles wins apiece.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH - Finn Tearney picked up West Coast Conference Singles Player of the Month honors after reaching the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championships on Oct. 20-24 in Malibu. Although the junior has earned doubles player of the month recognition on four occasions, this was the first time he was honored for his success in singles. Sebastian Fanselow earned the same award for the month of November.

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

REGIONAL SUCCESS - Pepperdine hosted the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championships last October. Four Waves reached the fourth round with Finn Tearney and Mousheg Hovhannisyan emerging to the quarterfinals. Tearney advanced to the semifinals after defeating Hovhannisyan before suffering a loss to the eventual winner, Ray Sarmiento of USC. For his efforts, Tearney was awarded an at-large bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships. Sebastian Fanselow was awarded one of two ITA wildcard entries into the bracket.

ITA ALL-AMERICAN RECAP - Four members of the Pepperdine men’s tennis team, including Mousheg Hovhannisyan, Jenson Turner, Finn Tearney and Sebastian Fanselow gained entry to the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. Hovhannisyan tallied three-straight wins in qualifying to earn a spot in the singles main draw. Fanselow reached the consolation singles final but suffered a loss, narrowly missing out on the automatic bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship in Flushing, N.Y. next month.

VETERANS — The Waves have seven letterwinners back from the 2010-11 squad including All-American Sebastian Fanselow. All-WCC singles selections Alex Llompart and Finn Tearney are also back, although Llompart is taking the fall off and will not join the team until January. Other players back include Hugh Clarke, Mousheg Hovhannisyan, Jenson Turner and Daniel Moss.

WHO’S NEW — The Waves welcome Hawai’i native Kento Tanaka-Tamaki to the roster this season. Tanaka-Tamaki had a standout prep school career at St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School. He was a four-year varsity member with a career singles record of 50-5, and was named the Maui Interscholastic League Player of the Year on three occasions. As a senior, he was the state runner-up champion on the singles court.

Adam Steinberg — Now in his 10th season as head coach of the Waves, Adam Steinberg enters the 2011 season with a career record of 324-145 (.691) including a 180-61 (.747) mark at Pepperdine. Since setting foot on the Malibu campus in 2003, Steinberg has captured eight WCC conference championships, eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and an NCAA Championship crown in 2006. He has tutored 15 Waves to All-American status, and has been named WCC Coach of the Year five times. Prior to coming to Pepperdine, Steinberg served as the head coach at Alabama and St. John’s for five seasons apiece.

2011 DUAL RECAP — The Waves finished the 2011 dual season with a 18-5 record and concluded the season ranked #15 in the Campbell’s/ITA Collegiate Rankings. Pepperdine defeated two top-10 ranked teams including #4 Duke and #7 Texas A&M. Sebastian Fanselow, Finn Tearney and Alex Llompart were all named to the All-WCC first team in singles, while Fanselow and Jenson Turner were awarded all-conference honors in doubles after piecing together an 18-1 dual season record as a pair. At the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships, Fanselow advanced to the round of 16 to earn All-American distinction.

TENNIS HISTORY — The Pepperdine men’s tennis program is synonymous with the word excellence, as the Waves are a perennial national power. The Waves have advanced to postseason play 35 times in 38 seasons, including an NCAA championship in 2006. Within the WCC, Pepperdine has dominated the competition, winning 41 conference championships since 1958.

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 #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine’s 75th anniversary.



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