Rollins (0-0, 0-0 SSC) vs. Arlansas Fort-Smith (0-0, 0-0 HC)
Winter Park, Fla. – Tiedtke Tennis Courts
Friday, February 1, 2018 – 3:00 p.m.
Rollins will look to return to national prominence after a disappointing 8-13 record in 2018. The Tars open the season with a visit from the Lions of Arkansas-Fort Smith. The Tars are returning 12 players from last year's squad, including nine that saw action during the 2018 dual match season. The Tars have been selected fifth in the Sunshine State Conference Preseason Poll, and enter the year ranked No. 9 in the South Region according to the ITA. The Lions had their home opener cancelled, and will now start their season in Florida, facing the Tars before heading to St. Augustine to take on the Flagler Saints.
WHO TO WATCH:
Ziad Melhaoui has elevated himself heading into his senior season. The Meknes, Morocco native is ranked No. 21 in the ITA National Singles Poll after making a quarterfinal run in the fall's ITA South Regional. Nicolo De Fraia enters his final collegiate campaign ranked as the No. 20 player in the South Region. Atakan Gezer will look to build on a solid freshman season, and a fall in which he won the top singles flight at the Tar's C.L. Varner Invitational. Melhaoui and newcomer Gai Feigin team up to form the No. 17 doubles pair in the nation, and the No. 6 team in the south.
The Lions are coming off a 7-11 season in which they fell in the first round of the Heartland Conference Tournament to eventual champions St. Edward's. Arkansas Fort-Smith will turn to promising sophomores Daniel Borrero and Wian Van Dyk during the 2019 season. Both were named Second Team All-Heartland Conference following successful freshman campaigns. Borrero playing in the top singles position, and Van Dyk playing number two singles. The two then combine to form the Lion's first court doubles partnership.
The Tars will face Bethune-Cookman in an exhibition match on February 13, then return to the court in an official capacity on Sunday, February 17, when they host Army West Point. First serve is set for 1 p.m.