Jan. 22, 2008
Complete Weekly Release in PDF Format
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's tennis team will open its DI dual meet era on Sunday when it travels to Davidson. The Spartans, who are coming off a successful fall tournament season, are coming off a 23-5 mark and an appearance in the DII National Quarterfinals in 2007. The Spartans were a perfect 3-0 during the season against DI opponents. The team is led by junior Sandy Franz, who posted two wins over athletes ranked in the ITA's Top 125 during the fall tournament season. Davidson struggled to an 8-16 mark in 2007, finishing seventh in the Southern Conference, but did send four players to the ITA Mideast Regionals.
Franz, Airaldi Reach Quarterfinals At ITA Mideast Regionals
The University of North Carolina's duo of Taylor Fogleman and Chris Kearny posted an 8-2 win over USC Upstate's sophomore Renzo Airaldi and junior Sandy Franz in the semifinals of the ITA Mideast Regionals to wrap up the fall season.
The loss ended a remarkable run by the Spartans' top doubles pair. Franz and Airaldi won three matches to reach the semifinals. In the opening round, they took out Atlantic Sun foes from East Tennessee State - Daniel Isaza and Lisandro Picardo - 8-3. They benefitted from a default in the second round, and in the third round, Franz and Airaldi fell behind, 7-3, to Evgeny Slesarev and Andrew Veeder of Gardner-Webb, but fought back by taking the next five games before the Bulldog pair forced a tiebreaker. After facing a match-point, they fought back to take the tiebreaker, 9-7 and the match, 9-8. In the quarterfinals, they took an 8-2 decision from the Tar Heel pair of Kyle Baker and Will Plyler, but the duo of Fogelman and Kearny got revenge for their teammates by posting an 8-2 win in the semifinals.
Franz, Airaldi Take Titles At USC Fall Invitational
Junior Sandy Franz showed signs that he can be a dominant player at the Division I level as he took the A-1 singles flight at the USC Fall Invitational, downing both the tournament's No. 1 and No. 5 seeds en route to the finals. Sophomore Renzo Airaldi, likewise, showed off his ability at the tournament, winning five matches en route to the B-2 singles crown. The only other school to win two singles crowns at the tournament was the Big East's 2007 third-place finisher, South Florida. Sophomore Jack Roux also won three matches en route to reaching the tournament semifinals in the A/B singles bracket.
Senior Sebastian Gonzales-Orbegoso reached 80 combined wins in his career at the Wofford Fall Challenge, going a perfect 5-0 on the weekend, winning two singles matches and three doubles matches. Gonzales-Orbegoso, whose brother, Diego, was also a letterwinner at Upstate, has posted an impressive 45-26 career doubles record and a 42-25 singles mark. He won two more matches at the USC Fall Invitational.
A Perfect Match
With their win in the quarterfinals of the ITA Mideast Regionals, doubles partners junior Sandy Franz and sophomore Renzo Airaldi each reached individual milestones. Franz, the 6-6 German who finished 2007 ranked 25th in Division II singles, won the 70th match in his career, having racked up an impressive 36-11 singles record and a 34-12 doubles mark. Airaldi earned his 50th win, as the 2007 ITA Division II Doubles All-American is 19-3 in his singles career and 31-8 in doubles play.
Beating The Best
As if an 11-2 record weren't enough to impress any opponent, junior Sandy Franz has also played his best this season when playing players ranked in the ITA Preseason Top 125. He posted a three-set win against Florida's 91st-ranked Nestor Briceno, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4, at the Southern Intercollegiates. In his other meeting against a ranked opponent, Franz downed Charlotte's 62nd-ranked Roy Sichel in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.
Franz, Airaldi Lead Men At Upstate Tournament
Both junior Sandy Franz and sophomore Renzo Airaldi dominated en route to the their flight's finals at the USC Upstate Tennis Tournament. Franz, in the `A' draw, posted a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the round of 16, a 6-1, 6-4 win in the quarterfinals, and a 6-4, 6-1 decision in the semis en route to the finals. Airaldi, in the `B' draw, took a similar dominant route, winning 6-2, 6-3; 6-1, 6-4; and 6-2, retired. Both were set to meet Wofford players in the finals and it was decided the finals would be played later in the week. However, due to injuries to the Wofford players, the matches have not been completed.
At the end of the fall season, the Upstate women had posted a 58-31 (.652) combined record in their first fall tournament season at the Division I level. The men finished the fall at a combined 70-34, a winning percentage of .673.
Going Out With A Bang
The 2007 season marked the last in both USC Upstate tennis programs' tenures in Division II and both teams posted the best season in school history. The men's program finished with a school-record 23 wins, had two All-Americans, Stefan Dumitrescu and his doubles partner, sophomore Renzo Airaldi, and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The women's program posted a school-record 21 wins, added an All-American in Anna Novo and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Round of 16 for the first time in school history.