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May 13, 2009

2008-09 Men's Tennis Review

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The Augustana men’s tennis team completed another record breaking year by knocking off rival Illinois Wesleyan 6-3 in the third place match at the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin tournament. It marked the eighth time that the Vikings have defeated the Titans in the last nine meetings between the two teams and avenged an earlier 6-3 loss from the regular season. The win gave the Blue & Gold 21 victories for the season, a new single season mark breaking the record of 20 wins set in 2008. Augustana was 21-14 overall with a 2-3 mark in the CCIW.

Freshman Adam DeSimone (Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) put together a terrific season in his first year as a Viking. DeSimone played No. 1 doubles with junior co-captain Chris Mullin (Downers Grove South HS, Darien, Ill.) and also held down the No. 3 singles position. The freshman finished 21-8 in singles, setting a new school record for most wins in a single season. He was 16-4 at No. 3 singles, where he played the majority of his matches. DeSimone’s 21 wins breaks the old record of 20, which was held by Rafael Romero and Andy McCarter, both seniors on the 2008 squad.

DeSimone and Mullin also tied Romero and McCarter for the most doubles wins in a single season with 19. The duo was 19-11 and scored several impressive wins throughout the season. Both players were also named to the CCIW All-Conference squad as second team selections. Mullin has been honored as a second team player the past two seasons.

Mullin played a difficult schedule at No.1 singles and finished the season at 11-21 overall. He has 42 singles wins after three seasons, only four victories shy of cracking the top 10 list. Mullin has also collected 48 doubles wins, only 14 away from tying for the top spot on the all-time list.

Senior co-captain Greg Ruth (Quincy HS, Quincy, Ill.) finished 16-18 overall and concludes his career with 46 singles victories, tied for 10th on the all-time list. Ruth played the majority of his matches at No. 2 singles, but also went 6-4 at No. 1 singles. Ruth’s most remarkable accomplishment was winning 62 doubles matches in his career, tying him for the most doubles wins in a career by an individual. He now shares that honor with Viking legends John Jevitz (’82) and Steve Miller (’82).

Ruth played with 13 different partners during the past four seasons and proved to be extremely versatile in the doubles lineup for the Blue & Gold. The senior teamed with freshman Nik Lehnert (Greeley West HS, Milliken, Colo.) for a 17-8 mark this season. They are tied for fourth on the single season wins list for doubles after going 9-4 at No. 2 doubles and 8-4 at No. 3 doubles.

Lehnert also turned in a superb season in singles, finishing with a 20-10 record while playing mostly No. 5 singles. The freshman is tied for second on the single season wins list for singles with Romero (’08) and McCarter (’08). He won the consolation draw of the St. Louis Open at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Tournament last fall, winning five straight matches after losing in the opening round of play.

Sophomore Kyle Doyle (Anthony Wayne HS, Maumee, Ohio) earned a second straight 18 win season in singles play, going 18-15 overall while playing the majority of his matches at the No. 4 spot. Winning 18 singles matches in a season ties him for seventh on the all-time list. He also continued to be a valuable contributor in doubles play, finishing with a 21-12 mark. Doyle was 12-6 with junior Geoff Schoon (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.), 8-6 with junior Kurtis Carls (LaSalle-Peru HS, Utica, Ill.), and also won his only match with Lehnert. After winning 13 matches at No. 1 doubles during his freshman season with Mullin, the sophomore now has 34 career doubles victories to go along with his 36 wins in singles.

Schoon and Carls each played 19 singles matches during the season, sharing time in the singles lineup. Schoon finished with an 11-8 mark, including a 4-3 mark at both No. 5 and No. 6 singles. Carls was 10-9 overall, playing mostly at No. 6 singles where he was 6-3.

Freshmen Chris Fowler (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) and Doug Faber (Princeton HS, Princeton, Ill.) also saw action in the varsity singles lineup. Fowler was 5-8 overall, including a 4-1 mark at No. 5 singles. Faber finished 6-2 overall and 4-0 at No. 6 singles. Fowler was 4-4 in doubles action with four different partners. Faber was also 4-4 in doubles, finishing 3-2 with freshman Dan Johnson (Arapahoe HS, Englewood, Colo.). Junior Dain Sundstedt (Hononegah HS, Roscoe, Ill.) turned in a 3-3 mark in singles and was 3-1 at the No. 6 slot.

The Vikings opened the fall portion of the season with victories over St. Ambrose and Cornell and also sent eight players to the ITA Regional Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. Augustana split its matches over the first four weekends of the season and left for its annual spring trip with a 6-4 mark. All four defeats came to ranked opponents, including a 5-4 loss at Wabash and a 6-3 defeat at home against Grinnell. The men defeated NCAA Division II Quincy in the final match before leaving for Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Led by perfect weeks from DeSimone and Doyle, the team went 4-1 in South Carolina to raise its overall record to 10-5. Augustana defeated another NCAA Division II opponent, knocking off East Stroudsburg 7-2. The lone defeat during the week came against Methodist. The Vikings dropped a 5-4 decision in a highly competitive match. The team responded with 9-0 wins in the final two matches of the trip to regain some momentum heading into conference play.

The conference schedule got off to a rough start as Augustana dropped a 6-3 match against a much improved North Central team. The Blue & Gold responded with six straight victories, including five home wins, over the next two weekends to move to 16-6 overall. The Vikings began the winning streak with a 6-3 win over Monmouth, runner-up in the Midwest Conference, and finished off the stretch with a convincing 9-0 victory against Central, the third place squad in the Iowa Conference.

Augustana split its squad for the first time in early April with the top squad traveling to Wisconsin for three matches and the second squad hosting a pair of opponents. The Vikings ran into a trio of difficult opponents and could not pull out a victory on the Wisconsin trip. Faber did pull out a victory to clinch a 5-4 win over Knox and the men improved to 17-10 overall.

A 7-2 loss and a pair of 6-3 defeats against CCIW foes Carthage and Illinois Wesleyan left Augustana with a 17-13 record and a 0-3 mark in the league, but the team rallied back with its biggest win of the season the following weekend. Facing a Wheaton squad that had defeated the Vikings 26 straight times, Augustana came out firing with a doubles sweep and held off the Thunder 5-4 for its first CCIW win of the year. The team followed with a 7-2 win over Elmhurst, highlighted by a third set super tie-breaker victory from Ruth in his final home match, and entered the CCIW Tournament with some positive momentum.

The Vikings were the #5 seed for the conference tournament, but proceeded to knock off #4 seed North Central by a 6-2 score in the opening match. Augustana swept the Cardinals in doubles after being swept earlier in the season. Mullin and DeSimone trailed 6-2 before rallying for a 9-8 win at No. 1 doubles. The Blue & Gold earned a win from Doyle and Schoon in doubles and a singles victory from Lehnert, but fell 5-2 to #1 seed Carthage in the semi-final round. Augustana responded by defeating Illinois Wesleyan in the third place match, sweeping a conference opponent in doubles for the third time in the final five matches of the season.

Augustana relied heavily on its doubles play during the season, finishing with a 72-42 mark. The Vikings led 3-0 after doubles in 16 matches and were only swept four times during the season. The Blue & Gold were 125-105 in singles action. The men won seven matches by a 9-0 score and were only swept 9-0 in two matches.

2009 COLLEGE CONFERENCE OF ILLINOIS & WISCONSIN TOURNAMENT
May 1-2, 2009 ** Carthage College ** Kenosha, Wisconsin

SEEDS: 1. Carthage (5-0); 2. Wheaton (3-2); 3. Illinois Wesleyan (3-2); 4. North Central (2-3); 5. AUGUSTANA (2-3); 6. Elmhurst (0-5)

FIRST ROUND:
Match #1 – Augustana 6, North Central 2
Match #2 – Illinois Wesleyan 5, Elmhurst 1
SEMI-FINALS:
Match #3 – Carthage 5, Augustana 2
Match #4 – Wheaton 7, Illinois Wesleyan 2
PLACING MATCHES:
Match #5 – North Central 6, Elmhurst 3 (5th place)
Match #6 – Augustana 6, Illinois Wesleyan 3 (3rd place)
Match #7 – Carthage 6, Wheaton 3 (1st place)

2008-09 AUGUSTANA SUPERLATIVES
Most Team Wins in a single season: 21…(21-14)
CCIW All-Conference: Chris Mullin (2nd team) and Adam DeSimone (2nd team)
CCIW Finish: 3rd place at conference tournament
Single Season Singles Wins: Adam DeSimone…1st with 21 (21-8); Nik Lehnert…tied for 2nd with 20 (20-10); Kyle Doyle…tied for 7th with 18 (18-15)
Career Singles Wins: Greg Ruth…tied for 10th with 46 (46-48)
Single Season Doubles Wins: Chris Mullin & Adam DeSimone…tied for 1st with 19 (19-11)…Greg Ruth & Nik Lehnert…tied for 4th with 17 (17-8)
Career Doubles Wins (Individual): Greg Ruth…tied for 1st with 62 (62-40)
Career Doubles Wins (w/ same partner): Chris Mullin & Adam DeSimone…10th with 19 (19-11)
CCIW “Player of the Week”: Adam DeSimone (02/24/09)…Kyle Doyle (03/10/09)…Greg Ruth (03/24/09)