The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Texas Regional, the largest Division I tournament in the state of Texas, begins this weekend. Islander sophomore Peter Nagy is seeded #14 at the prestigious event that sends the winner to the Nike National Indoors at Flushing Meadows, New York.
"This is the biggest tournament of the fall," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "There are 12 regionals in the United States, and the winner of each goes to the national indoors in New York, so there is a lot of play for. Also, the performance at the regionals largely influences where your team is ranked to begin the spring.
"This group has been working extremely hard and has really developed a lot. We talk about the need to improve five percent every week, and I feel like this group has been making the choices that allow that to happen."
There are 12 regions in NCAA Division I, with each of the 12 regions sending a representative to the Nike National Indoors. Texas is considered one of the strongest regions in the nation, with 10 teams ranked in the ITA Top 75 National Rankings and five of the top 25. Every division I team in Texas competes for a shot to represent their region at the national indoors.
Moore is the chairman of the Texas Region, one of 12 chairmen that comprise the national panel for the ITA that help facilitate the national rankings and award postseason honors around the nation. Moore is also on the NCAA National Operating Committee that is tasked with helping promote and grow collegiate tennis throughout the nation.
"I have long felt that the Texas region is consistently the strongest region in the nation, so this will be a highly-competitive event to say the least, with tremendous depth throughout the draw." said Moore.
The Islanders have had their strongest fall ever as a whole, with both an Islanders men's and women's player winning an ITA-sanctioned tournament this fall. Freshman Maider Martin won the Marco & Co. Catering Islander Open, while Nagy won both the Islander Open and the Rice Galleria Fall Invite. Nagy is currently ranked among the top 60 in the ITA/FILA Division I singles rankings.
The Islanders women will be represented by Martin, Sandra Burges, Leanne Mascall, Stefanie Nicolae, Cassie Shaw and Venesa Figueroa. Islanders captain Doris Kuselj, All-Southland selection Chelsea Horan and senior Mia Matuszak will all miss the tournament due to injury. The Islander men will feature Nagy, junior captain Matt Westmoreland, freshmen Odon Barta, Guillaume Rauseo and Javier Pujol, sophomore Pietro Jordan and senior captain Andrew Maingot.
The Islanders will have five freshmen playing their first regionals ever among the men and women.
The Islanders have had a history of strong performances at the regional, with Stefania Nicolae beating players from Texas and Texas A&M to reach the third round of the main draw last year, and Laurent Montoisy reaching the quarterfinals two years ago. One of the proudest moments ever for the Islanders was Mikhail Pavlov and Andrey Kumantsov winning the doubles title and representing every division I school in Texas at the Nike National Indoors in 2008.
"This is a team with a very strong work ethic and good character," said Moore. "I'm excited to see them compete this weekend. We don't talk a lot about results, we talk about the things we can control that lead to results."
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