Men's Tennis Opens Dual Season At Alabama

Lucas Dirube is one of three seniors on the UAB roster.

Jan. 17, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB men's tennis team will play its first dual match of the 2014 season Saturday when the Blazers make the short trip to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 33-ranked Alabama.

The Blazers and Crimson Tide are scheduled to begin play at 10 a.m. at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Indoor Tennis Facility.

UAB is coming off a 15-11 record from a year ago. Head coach Derek Tarr will count on a trio of seniors to lead his squad during the 2014 campaign. Chris Helliar from Bournemouth, England is coming off an outstanding fall when he compiled a singles record of 16-2 that vaulted him into the ITA National Rankings (presently at No. 88).

Fellow seniors Rafael Rondino and Lucas Dirube are also expected to be key performers for the Blazers this spring. Newcomers Mitchell Martell and Donovan McSeveney, both junior college transfers, will also be counted on in 2014. Luiz Felipe Pinto was a regular in the Blazers' lineup last season and returns for his sophomore campaign.

Matthew Hill, Charles McCombs, Nick Iannuzzi and David Cooper provide additional depth for UAB.



Tarr said he feels like his team has improved significantlyt since they began the new academic year in August, but he also knows Saturday's match against the Tide provides a great challenge.

"I think we've made steady improvement throughout the fall," said Tarr. "Our guys have all had good attitudes as they have prepared for the season. It's obviously too early tell, but what I'm seeing hopefully will translate to our matches.

"(Saturday's match) is a great opportunity to play a quality team early in the season," Tarr said.