SCHOOL/RECORD: East Tennessee State (ETSU)/15-7
CONFERENCE: A-Sun (Atlantic Sun Conference)
HEAD COACH/RECORD: Yaser Zaatini (150-50)
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCES: 8 (fourth straight)
BEST NCAA FINISH: Round of 32 (2008 defeated No. 24 Notre Dame, 4-2)
TEAM HIGHLIGHTS: Playing one of the toughest schedules in the country ETSU didn’t back down against some of the highest ITA ranked teams in country… the 62nd-ranked Bucs played road matches against No. 13 Louisville, No. 2 Tennessee, No. 12 Georgia, No. 16 Duke, No. 19 North Carolina, No. 71 William and Mary, No. 47 Mississippi State, No. 26 Washington, No. 52 USC Upstate, No. 21 Wake Forest, No. 75 UNC Wilmington… the Bucs top win this spring came against Wilmington – who was ranked 48 when the two schools competed.
In the process ETSU won its fourth straight Atlantic Sun Conference Championship with a 4-2 win over host and second-seeded Stetson. Currently, head coach Yaser Zaatini’s squad has been red-hot lately winning their last eight matches, while ETSU is 13-1 since losing at UGA Feb. 27.
PLAYER/COACH HIGHLIGHTS: After winning his first career A-Sun Player of the Year award sophomore Sander Gille added to his accolades list after earning the league’s MVP honor at the 2010 A-Sun Championships. Gille, finished the season with a 20 singles wins, while with freshman doubles teammate Jesus Bandres, the ETSU duo currently has 29 doubles victories. Overall, ETSU’s represented has won 10 straight contests, while defeating nine players from ITA ranked teams. Gille also represented the Bucs in the 2009 ITA All-American Tournament last fall. In addition to Gille the ETSU lineup is loaded with talent. Juniors Grega Teraz and Charles Bottoni, in addition to senior Daniel Isaza all have played critical roles in ETSU’s success this spring. Teraz – who has alternated between the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions – has spent most of the season in the national rankings, while Bottoni – who since returning from a shoulder injury – has jumped back into the ITA spotlight at No. 105 winning seven out of his last 10 contests. Not to be outdone Isaza – the senior captain – leads the Bucs in overall wins, while clinching the Bucs eight NCAA Tournament trip with a gritty 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win against Stetson. Overall, ETSU has had freshman Jesus Bandres (51), junior Grega Teraz (82) and Charles Bottoni (89 )ranked in singles to start the season, while Isaza/and Ofir Weintraub (39) and Bandres and Gille were ranked in doubles (52) back in January.