March 19, 2009

#4 Men’s Tennis Mid-Season Outlook

by Tyler Peck, sports information graduate assistant 

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - At a very impressive 9-1, 5-0 PBC start, the men's tennis team at Georgia College & State University has become a force to be reckoned with. The sports information department will take an in-depth look at what the team has accomplished and the future of the 2009 campaign.

Steve Barsby is in his ninth season as head coach of the tennis programs. The Bobcats started the season with a No. 13 ranking in the country but have since jumped to No. 4, the highest ranking under Barsby's tenure and the second highest in Georgia College history. The 2009 team includes three seniors, three juniors, one sophomore, and two freshmen.

Feb. 24, 2009 will go down in the Georgia College record books as the day that they took down then No. 1 and defending national champions Armstrong Atlantic State University 5-4.  The victory marks the fourth time in history that the Bobcats defeated the Pirates. This was also Armstrong's first loss in two years. The ‘Cats got the decisive victory when Max Beliankou (Minsk, Belarus) defeated then No. 21 Tim Johannsen.

Erick Siqueira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) started the season No. 8 in nation and has posted a 5-4 record in singles action thus far this season. With doubles partner, Justin Pickham (Armidale, Australia) by his side, the duo has gone 8-1.  Pickham and Siqueria represent first doubles for the Bobcats.

Pickham sits at 7-2 on the season including three wins in nine days against netters that were in the top-25. Pickham beat Frank Suarez (formerly No. 23) of Columbus State University 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.  Pickham then went on to defeat Dagoberto Darezzo (No. 19 at the time) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. To complete the sweep, Pickham took down Armstrong Atlantic's Paul Bishop (then No. 11) 7-6, 2-6, 6-4.

Sao Paulo native Francis Yoshimoto has been unstoppable as of late, winning seven singles matches in a row and posting a 9-1 mark. Yoshimoto's last lost came Feb. 8 against Valdosta State University who was ranked No. 3 in the country at the time but has since moved to No. 2. Yoshimoto is 4-6 in doubles action splitting time between junior Joao Casagrande (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and freshman Leo Bernardes (Sao Paulo, Brazil).

Beliankou took down then No. 21 Tim Johannsen of Armstrong Atlantic 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 to lead the Bobcats past the Pirates 5-4. After the victory, Beliankou has won four straight matches putting him at 8-2 on the season.

Giovane Nucci (Santa Cantarina, Brazil) yields a 5-3 record on the 2009 season and is undefeated thus far in the month of March. Nucci when teamed with Beliankou posts a 7-2 mark and when teamed with Kyle Uhles (Cumming, Ga.) notches a 1-0 record.

Casagrande stands at 2-3 in singles action on the season and 4-3 in doubles with duo partner, Yoshimoto.

Bernardes, Uhles and Robert Angelucci (Acworth, Ga.) are all beginning to show signs that they can play at the Bobcats' fifth or sixth singles slot.

Bernardes started off rough recovering from injury but has won back-to-back singles matches improving to 2-3 on the year. Bernardez is 1-3 in doubles action splitting team with Yoshimoto and Angelucci.

Uhles inked his name in the record books on March 11, 2009 when he won his first ever singles match against Matt Lester of Concord University 6-0, 6-0. Uhles moved to 1-0 in singles action and is also 1-0 in doubles action.

Angelucci is undefeated in both singles and doubles play as well. Angelucci marks a 3-0 record in singles and is 1-0 in doubles.

Georgia College faces a tough second half schedule where six of their next 11 opponents are ranked in the nation's top-27.

Saturday, March 21 the Bobcats travel to face No. 11 Francis Marion University a day after competing against Erskine College.

The Bobcats then travel to Pensacola, Fla. to participate in the White Sands Invitational March 24-28 where they will see three ranked teams. Georgia College squares off against No. 27 University of North Alabama, No. 9 University of West Florida and No. 8 Drury University. The Bobcats also face Tuskegee College while at the invitational.

GCSU returns home March 31 to play Newberry College. Georgia College then faces No. 6 Hawaii Pacific April 3 at the Centennial Center Tennis Facility. 

April 4 the Bobcats go head-to-head against SCAD and then travel on the road to face PBC opponent, North Georgia on April 10.

The ‘Cats finish the regular season at home with fellow PBC member, No. 16 Lander University.

Visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame. The GCSU Department of Athletics sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCSU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement.