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March 31, 2010
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Sophomore Ramiro Blanco helped the No. 52 USC Upstate men's tennis team tie another record on Wednesday, as he earned the fourth Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week award of the season, tying the mark of four weekly awards won by the Spartans in 2009 in the A-Sun and in 2003 as members of the Division II Peach Belt Conference. For Blanco, the award is the second in his career.
Blanco, a Chascomus, Argentina, native, posted a perfect 2-0 mark in singles and doubles play as he helped the Spartans win two A-Sun matches on the road at regionally-ranked UNF and Jacksonville. A 5-9 sophomore, Blanco played at No. 5 against UNF, posting a 6-3, 6-2 win over Leonardo Nahar and then added a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 4 against Jacksonville's Jaime Esteban. The win over Nahar helped him move into first on Upstate's all-time singles winning percentage chart, as his 36-7 (.837) all-time record moved him ahead of David Gustafsson, who went 34-7 (.829) from 2002-04.
He also added pair of doubles wins at No. 3 with partner Edgar Rodriguez, notching an 8-5 win over Nahar and Moritz Buerchner at UNF to help Upstate clinch the doubles point and added an 8-1 win at Jacksonville.
The Spartans (15-5 overall, 7-0 A-Sun) also stayed in position to capture their first A-Sun title with the wins, as they can claim the title outright with wins against Stetson, FGCU and Campbell to close the season or claim a portion with wins in two of the three matches.
Blanco also earned A-Sun Player of the Week honors on March 25, 2009, as he posted a 10-0 week with five singles wins and five doubles wins to help Upstate win matches against A-Sun foes Campbell and Kennesaw State along with non-conference matches against UNC Wilmington, Missouri-Kansas City and Drake.
Senior Javier Tori has earned the award three times this season to help Upstate tie the school-record with Blanco, as Jack Roux, Arnaldo Lovera, Blanco and Tori won the award in 2009 and Jose Luis Reyes, Ali Mondour, Lighton Muchinda and Diego Sist earned the Peach Belt award in 2003.
Upstate plays the final three matches of the season at home, starting with a 3 p.m. match against Stetson in a match that will have much to say about the A-Sun regular season champion. The Hatters enter the match with a 16-3 overall record and a 7-1 mark in the A-Sun, just a half-match behind the Spartans.