"We are continuing to improve as a program," stated head coach Carlos Garcia. "Our success on the court has gone up in each of the last three seasons and we are hoping that can continue into the future."
After going 2-18 in 2009 and 5-15 in 2010, the Mocs started out strong once they hit the outdoor courts in the spring of 2011. After a five-match winning streak, Chattanooga was 7-7 midway through March. However, some injuries to key players slowed down the early momentum.
"We were unfortunate that we had a few key guys go down in the middle of the year," added Garcia. "Some of our top players missed some time and forced other guys to move up into spots in the lineup. Hopefully, we can use that as a learning experience and take better care of ourselves as we move forward."
Despite the rough finish, there were a number of highlights to celebrate from 2011. Chattanooga won a match in the Southern Conference Tournament at the Champions Club. UTC also ended a long losing streak to Davidson with a 4-3 win on the road.
VIEIRA REPEATS ON ALL-SOCON TEAM
Sophomore Roberto Vieira (Bedfordview, South Africa) was named First Team All-Southern Conference for the second time. He repeated his appearance on the first team after also taking SoCon Freshman of the Year honors in 2010. It is the third year in a row the Mocs placed a representative on the All-SoCon First Team.
"Roberto continues to perform at a high level and he was very deserving of this honor," continued Garcia. "He beat some of the top players in the league and was one or two wins away from being the player of the year. He showed his outstanding form once again and helped us a lot."
Vieira posted a 12-12 overall singles record, including an 8-7 mark in the No. 1 spot during spring dual matches. He went 5-3 in SoCon action, just missing a huge upset win against Georgia Southern's Juan Melian Puigventos. Vieira twice pushed the 2011 SoCon Player of the Year to three sets, once in the regular season and again in the SoCon Tournament. Puigventos only played three three-set matches in SoCon action all year with two of those coming against Vieira.
VAN DE BOVENKAMP CLOSES OUT SENIOR YEAR WITH A SOLID SEASON
Rick van de Bovenkamp (Oud-Beyerland, The Netherlands) was the lone senior in the Mocs' regular lineup. He finished with a 10-15 singles record, a career-high in singles wins. He won two of his last three matches, including a big victory at No. 4 against Georgia Southern in the SoCon Tournament. He finished the season 4-5 in the No. 4 slot.
"I was very proud of the way Rick finished his career," said Garcia. "He had been up and down throughout his time here so to see it come together for him was fun to watch. He won some big matches for us and provided some valuable leadership."
MOCS WIN FIVE STRAIGHT DURING THE REGULAR SEASON
UTC was rolling in dual matches in late February and early March. UTC posted wins over Jacksonville State (5-2), Belmont (7-0), Lee (6-1), at Davidson (4-3) and Murray State (6-1) between Feb 20 and March 10. That five-match winning streak was the team's longest since 2008.
"We posted some big wins over teams that had beaten us in previous years," explained Garcia. "It was good to get a little streak going, but we got hit with a few nagging injuries and were not able to maintain our success."
SOPHOMORE JACKSON TRESNAN LEADS THE TEAM IN WINS
Sophomore Jackson Tresnan (Apopka, Fla.) finished the year with a 14-15 overall record. He led the team in singles wins and was 8-1 at No. 4. He was forced to move up in the lineup as the season went on, but still had some big wins throughout the season. He won four matches in SoCon action and had a personal eight-match winning streak midway through the season.
"Jackson had a terrific non-conference record," stated Garcia. "He was very strong at No. 4 and we would have liked to have been able to keep him there the whole season. Unfortunately he had to move up where he still competed very well and proved to be the second-most impressive player on the team behind Roberto."
GARCIA GETS 100TH CAREER WIN
The Mocs are guided by head coach Carlos Garcia who is in his 10th season at UTC. He scored his 100th career victory as the men's coach at UTC with a 7-0 win over Belmont on Feb. 25, 2011. He is currently 104-128 in his tenure with the Mocs.
CHATTANOOGA HOSTED THE 2011 SOUTHERN CONFERENCE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga played host to the 2011 Southern Conference Tennis Championships at the prestigious Champions Club on April 20-23. Samford won the men's title, while the College of Charleston took home the women's trophy.
This was the first time in 11 years the SoCon Tennis Tournament came to UTC and the first time at the Champions Club. Fans and participants were treated to one of the nicest public facilities in the country on the banks of the Tennessee River.
The Mocs gave those in attendance something to cheer about with their thrilling 4-3 win over Georgia Southern in the first round. Sophomore Stephen Crofford (Franklin, Tenn.) clinched the match with his singles win at No. 6. It was the Mocs first win in the SoCon Tournament since 2007.
"Hosting the Southern Conference Tournament at the Champions Club was a great experience for our guys," said Garcia. "The tennis community came out and supported it throughout the week and made it a lot of fun. Being able to get a win was huge for us and something we hope to carry over into next season."
The Mocs are set to return its core group of players, including five sophomores who were in the starting lineup. Vieira, Tresnan and Crofford will make up a strong junior class in 2012 that also includes Chris Smith (Johnson City, Tenn.) and William Disterdick (Hixson, Tenn.). Freshmen Trent Cobb (Melbourne, Australia), Jordan Faith (Denver, Colo.) and Orlando Lourenco (Hixson, Tenn.) will also be back for their sophomore seasons.
"We have a lot of talent coming back," explained Garcia. "If we can keep everyone healthy, we have a chance to keep climbing the ranks in the Southern Conference."
The Mocs lose four seniors, including van de Bovenkamp, Matt Harris (Nashville, Tenn.), Tyler Pullen (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) and Gordon Ruddell (Knoxville, Tenn.). The lone seniors on next year's team are Sam Parfitt (Norwich, England) and Alexandru Butnarcuic (Chisinau, Moldova).