Tennis Returns Home to Take on Furman and Ohio State
Commodores Look to Rebound Following First Loss of 2003
Tenn. - Following its first loss of the 2003 season, the Vanderbilt
men’s tennis team (4-1) will look to rebound this weekend
against No. 75-ranked Furman (2-1) and No. 24-ranked Ohio
State (5-1). The Commodores will take on the Paladins at 11
a.m. Saturday, and then take on the Buckeyes at 12 p.m. Sunday
- both of which will be held at the Brownlee O. Currey Tennis
Center. In the recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association national
rankings, the Commodores slipped from No. 25 to 28 due to
their loss to Southeastern Conference rival Arkansas, 4-3,
last Sunday in Fayetteville.
The Commodores are familiar with both of their weekend opponents.
In 2002, Vanderbilt took on Furman once and Ohio State twice.
In a tightly contest match, Vanderbilt fell to Furman, 4-3,
in Greenville, S.C. The Commodores and Buckeyes squared off
once during the regular season and one during the postseason.
In their regular season match in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State
didn’t have much trouble in defeating Vanderbilt, 5-2.
However, the Commodores gained their revenge when it mattered
the most. The two teams squared off in the first round of
the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky., and the Commodores
were able to defeat the Buckeyes, 4-3.
The Paladins are led by head coach Paul Scarpa, who is in
his 37th season with Furman. Over his tenure, he has won 681
matches, which is the most of any active tennis coach in the
country. Despite only playing three matches so far this season,
the Paladins have been test. In its season opener, Furman
fell to then No. 5-ranked Florida, 6-1, in Gainesville.
Senior James Cameron, who played high school tennis in Chattanooga,
Tenn. for The Baylor School, is Furman’s top player.
Against the Gators, he pulled off the upset by defeating Hamid
Mirzadeh, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. He is 3-0 in dual matches this season.
Junior Patrick Fillnow almost pulled off the upset against
No. 29-ranked Janne Holmia at the No. 2 spot, as he lost 7-6,
0-6, 6-1. Holmia is the player Vanderbilt junior Bobby Reynolds
defeated in the finals of the SEC Indoor Championship last
Even though they are presently ranked 24th, Ohio State is
one of the most dangerous teams in the country. Despite losing
to No. 1-ranked UCLA last weekend 5-2, the Buckeyes proved
they could play with the top teams in the country by the results
of several matches against the Bruins. OSU’s biggest
win so far this season came against then No. 27-ranked Notre
Dame, which it easily defeated, 6-1.
Led by fourth-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes are
a very talented team, especially at the top of their lineup.
Junior Jeremy Wurtzman and senior Vince Ng play at the top
of Ohio State’s lineup. Those two will take on Reynolds
and fellow junior Chad Harris of Vanderbilt, which will make
for two high quality and exciting matches. Wurtzman, who is
presently ranked No. 7 nationally, is 16-5 in singles. Ng,
who is ranked No. 45, has been pretty much unbeatable for
the Buckeyes, as he has 24 of his 26 singles matches.
The Commodores have had a lot of success so far this season
in doubles. In its five dual matches, Vanderbilt has not lost
a doubles points, while only winning 14 of 15 matches. The
teams of Reynolds and junior Lewie Smith, Harris and sophomore
Scott Brown and juniors Zach Dailey and Jens Pilgam-Larsen
have all been playing well for the Commodores. Reynolds has
continued to play outstanding tennis for head coach Ken Flach.
For the 2002-03 season, he holds a 22-5 singles. He has presently
won 12 singles matches in a row and is 3-0 in dual competition.