Falcons Open Spring Season With Two Matches in Boise
Jan. 18, 2013
at Boise State
Saturday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m.
The Air Force men's tennis team opens its 2013 spring season this weekend with a pair of matches in Boise, Idaho. The Falcons will face Boise State in the Mountain West opener at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19 and Montana at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20.
AIR FORCE HEAD COACH DAN OOSTERHOUS
Air Force head coach Dan Oosterhous is in his fourth season as the men's tennis coach after being named the program's 12th head coach on October 1, 2009. Oosterhous, a 1993 graduate of the Academy, replaced legendary head coach Rich Gugat, who retired after 36 years at the helm of the men's tennis program. Oosterhous led the Falcons to an 11-13 record last season and enters the 2013 campaign with a 31-40 career mark.
The Air Force men's tennis team opened its 2012 fall campaign by claiming the singles and doubles titles at the DU Invitational in Denver. Senior Lance Wilhelm won the singles competition by scoring 16 points with two wins at the No. 1 singles spot, while junior Alex Grubbs and freshman Jack McCullers completed a perfect weekend to win the doubles title. The Falcon duo finished with nine points after a 3-0 mark at the No. 2 doubles spot.
During the tournament, the Falcons took three of four doubles matches against Mountain West rival New Mexico. Wilhelm and sophomore Grant Taylor dropped the top doubles match to the nation's 58th-ranked team of Jadon Phillips and Conor Berg, 8-6, but AFA won the other three matches. Grubbs and McCullers defeated Riann duToit and James Hignett, 8-6, at the No. 2 position, while juniors Andy Jackson and Steven Young beat Mads Hegelund and Samir Iftikhar by the same score. Junior Ali Rizvi and freshman Andrew Parks then downed Evan Corona-Saunders and Simon Hegelund, 8-4.
"Our doubles teams played really well against the Lobos," said Air Force head coach Dan Oosterhous. "We executed the fundamentals extremely well and won matches from tight spots, which was great to see."
In addition, the Falcons won four of six singles matches against the host DU Pioneers. Wilhelm, Young and Rizvi each won his singles matches in straight sets against Denver, while McCullers was extended to three sets before defeating Frederick Bjorne, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1.
"Our team responded well and made good adjustments during their singles matches," said Oosterhous. "It was also important for us to be in position and have success closing out matches. That tournament was a very good start to our season and we have a lot to build from."
Following the DU tourney, Wilhelm, Grubbs and Taylor traveled to Tulsa, Okla., for the 2012 ITA All-American Tennis Championships. Grubbs, who received a first-round bye in the prequalifying draw, defeated Max Robert-Stevens of TCU, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in the second round before falling to Constantin Christ of Ohio State in the third round. Wilhelm, meanwhile, dropped a 7-5, 6-4 decision to Louisville's Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, who is ranked 70th in the country, in the first round of the qualifying draw.
In doubles, the Falcon duo of Wilhelm and Taylor, one of 128 teams that competed for eight spots in the main draw, defeated Johan Backstrom and William Kallberg from the University of Mississippi, 9-8(3) in the first round. Wilhelm and Taylor lost to Anis Ghorbel and James McKie of Drake University, the 16th-seeded team in the qualifying draw, 8-6 in the second round.
The Falcons then competed at the UNM Balloon Fiesta Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. Junior Alex Lineberry went 3-0 in singles and captured the title in his flight. He rallied to defeat Yannick Blank of New Mexico State, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the championship match.
Air Force closed out the fall season with an impressive performance at the ITA Mountain Regional Championships in Las Vegas. Wilhelm won four straight matches before losing a tough, three-setter in the semifinals to the tournament's top-seed and defending champion, Enej Bonin of Denver, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3.
Wilhelm, the sixth-seeded player in the tournament, advanced further than any Air Force player at the Region Championships since Shannon Buck lost in the finals in 2005.
"Lance's run to the semis was impressive to watch and he came awfully close to making the finals," said Air Force head coach Dan Oosterhous. "He pushed the defending champ to 3-all in the third set before getting beat and he played the best tennis of his career over the course of the week."
Wilhelm begins the spring season ranked No. 6 in the Mountain Region for singles and he and Taylor are ranked 8th in doubles
Air Force returns home to face Montana State (Jan. 26) and Seattle (Jan. 27). Each match is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.