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Men's Tennis Geared for an Exciting 2004 Season

FROSTBURG, MD - The Frostburg State men’s tennis team is poised and ready to deliver another successful season in 2004. With its dangerous returning players, its most rigorous schedule to date and an exciting spring break trip to Hilton Head, S.C., the Bobcats have much to look forward to as they look to improve upon last year’s 11-6 finish.

The squad’s top returning player is senior Justin Stephens (Southern Garrett/Oakland, Md.). Stephens went 17-2 in singles play, including a perfect 6-0 in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, and captured the No. 1 singles title at the AMCC Championships. Stephens was voted the AMCC Player of the Year for his performance.

Stephens was also 12-7 in doubles action and teamed with junior Gary Lyst (Blair/Silver Spring, Md.) for a runner-up showing at the No. 1 flight at the AMCC Championships.

“Justin is our team leader,” said Bobcat second-year Head Coach Stuart Swink. “He wants to win the overall team conference championship as well as a conference championship in doubles.”

Lyst also returns after a solid season. He compiled a 10-7 record in singles and a 13-4 tally in doubles and looks to defend his AMCC title at the No. 2 singles position.

Lyst, who made a trip with Stephens to the Intercollegiate Tennis Championships at Swarthmore College last October, will again combine with Stephens at the No.1 doubles spot where they will provide depth and consistency en route to a possible conference doubles title.

“Gary is the most versatile player on the squad,” said Swink. “He is our best doubles player and has the greatest variety of shots in his arsenal.”

While the Bobcats are set at the top two spots of their lineup, the remaining four singles positions are up for grabs.

Junior Andrew Spangenberg (Frederick/Frederick, Md.) will lead the contenders for the remaining positions and aims for the No. 3 spot where Swink feels he has the potential to have success this season.

Spangenberg, who was 7-10 in singles and 10-6 in doubles last season, will most likely pair with senior Pete Della Luna (Longmeadow/Moshpee, Mass.) at the No.2 doubles spot.

“Andrew is the quickest player we have,” said Swink. “He has a large repertoire of shots and could be pivotal for us.”

Della Luna, who is fundamentally and technically sound, is a flat hitter who finds success when moving to the net to win points. He compiled an 11-6 singles and 10-7 doubles records in 2003.

New faces to the squad this year include senior Dustin Robinson (Leonardtown/Leonardtown, Md.), junior Jacob Helms (North County High School/ Linthicum, Md. ) and freshmen Andrew Holt (Southern/Harwood, Md.) and Matt Stephens (Southern Garrett/Oakland, Md.), Justin’s younger brother.

Robinson, who played for the FSU basketball squad his freshman and sophomore years, will look to make a solid contribution to the Bobcat lineup. He will likely be paired with Helms at the No. 3 doubles flight.

Helms, a transfer from Anne Arundel Community College, will use his huge first serve powered by his 6-5 frame.

Holt, a fierce competitor, will look to develop the versatility to play with any player at any spot in the doubles lineup throughout the season and may break into the singles roster.

Matt Stephens was a three-sport athlete in high school. Although none of the sports were tennis, Swink says he is very athletic, is learning the game and will fight for time on the court.

Swink says that this year’s squad is arguably the strongest men’s team he has ever coached.

“They need to be the best I have ever coached,” said Swink. “We have a very ambitious schedule, and this is our first trip to Hilton Head where we will experience a first-rate college tennis spring break experience.”

“Hilton Head will be a tremendous way for us to bond and to practice and play in nice weather prior to our regular season,” Swink added. “It will give us a chance to play some national competition in schools from Maine to Oregon.”

After finishing second at last year’s AMCC Championships to Penn State Altoona by a slight 11-9 margin, Swink and the Bobcats are very optimistic about the prospect of winning the AMCC team title in 2004.

“We have every reason to believe we will improve on last year’s 11-6 record and be a strong contender for the AMCC title,” said Swink. “We have to win in doubles, and whether or not we are truly successful will depend on our physical health holding up through the season. I think a 15-win season is certainly attainable.”

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780