Men's Tennis Receives Several Regional Rankings

Written by: NMSU Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State men's tennis team placed three individuals and two doubles tandems on the Preseason Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Rankings released earlier this month.

Sophomore Gustave Diep (Paris, France) had the highest rank of the three in the Mountain Region, as he came in at No. 12. Heralded freshman Jim Brouleau (Poitiers, France) was ranked No. 17 and junior Stefan McKinney (Camarillo, Calif.) was No. 22.

In the doubles rankings, Diep and Brouleau were placed in the 10th slot and junior Roman Stoisavljevic (Zagreb, Croatia) and sophomore Eduardo Salas (Naucalpan, Mexico) were ranked No. 15 in the region.

Head coach Don Ball believes this is a very good indicator on how dramatically his team has improved.

"Obviously it's awesome to have our players up there in the rankings and this is the highest number of our guys we've had ranked in a lot of years," Ball said. "Our No. 1 player last year (Stoisavljevic) wasn't even ranked and I feel that with him and the three others we have four really great tennis players."

Stoisavljevic was ranked No. 21 last year in the preseason regional rankings after going 13-5 in fall singles play.

Diep started this past fall tournament season off slowly, but he saved his best play for last when he won the ASU Thunderbird singles championship on Nov. 11. He joined a prestigious list past Thunderbird winners, as their previous champions are really the ‘who's who' in tennis, as Ball puts it.

At the ITA Mountain Regional Championships on Oct. 18, Diep advanced all the way to the Round of 16 where he nearly pulled off an upset of Boise State's Luke Shields, who is the No.1 ranked players in the mountain region. There he took Shields to a third set tiebreaker. Diep, the 2007 Mountain Region Rookie of the Year and Second Team All-WAC honoree, finished the fall with a 10-5 singles record.

Brouleau had high expectations from the coaching staff coming in this fall, as he was one of the top five junior players in all of France. He more than lived up to his expectations, compiling a 14-5 fall singles record.

He claimed two different tournament titles, first on Sept. 16 at the Aggie Fall Invitational and later at the UNM Balloon Fiesta Classic on Oct. 7.

McKinney, a transfer from Midwestern State, was the surprise of the fall. He led the team in singles victories with his 15-5 record. McKinney finished third at the Aggie Fall Invitational, reached to the semifinals of the H.E.B. Baylor Intercollegiates and had a quarterfinal appearance at the ITA Mountain Region Championships in Las Vegas.

The Aggies top doubles pairs faired just as well in fall play, which earned them their current regional rankings.

Diep and Brouleau were 8-4 together during this past fall and won the Aggie Fall Invitational doubles draw. Stoisavljevic and Salas went 4-2 together and had their best showing at the regional championships.

All of the Aggies combined this fall to post a 79-48 (.662) singles record and a 31-14 (.689) doubles record.

Ball said entering the season that his ultimate goal for the year is to get his team back into the national rankings. He feels that the tough fall schedule prepared his team to do just that and they will have the opportunity this spring to beat some very talented teams with their challenging schedule.

Both the Aggie men's and women's tennis teams begin practice for the dual match season when classes resume for the spring semester. On Jan. 22, both teams host Mexico's Monterrey Tech at the NMSU Tennis Center for an exhibition match.