@patriotstennis picked to win ASC Men's Tennis East Division

Monday, January 25, 2016

RICHARDSON – UT Tyler has been selected to win the 2016 American Southwest Conference men’s tennis East Division title after a vote of the league's head coaches. Additionally, senior Daniel Budd and freshman Arthur Fagundes were named to the ASC Men’s Tennis Preseason Players to Watch list which spotlights 24 players coming into the season.

The Patriots received 55 points by securing all 11 first-place votes for the top spot in the East Division, while Hardin-Simmons is the West Division pick after receiving 60 points and five first-place votes to lead the West Division. East Texas Baptist came in second behind UT Tyler in the East Division with 38 points, while LeTourneau was picked third (34), Ozarks fourth (27) and Louisiana College was tabbed fifth (11).

“What I like about both of our teams is that they work extremely hard and they want to win and play for each other,” UT Tyler head coach Chris Bizot said. “That’s really exciting to see. They’ve been very intentional about staying focused during practices along with strength and conditioning to be prepared for the season. It will be an interesting year with several seniors as the anchors of our teams and also several freshmen and newcomers who will make an immediate impact for our teams. Mixing things together and making it work is a challenge that we are looking forward to. If we are able to put it all together then our goals of winning conference and advancing deep into the NCAA tournament will happen but it is going to be a process.”

UT Tyler will open its season on Sunday by hosting Hardin-Simmons at 10 a.m. and McMurry at 3:30 p.m. at the Summers Tennis Center. The Patriots will host matches on seven different days throughout the spring season, including East Division matches against Louisiana College and LeTourneau on Friday, March 4 and Ozarks on April 9. The ASC Championship Tournament will be hosted this year from April 28-30 at the West Division Champion’s home courts.

In the West Division two additional teams also received first-place votes. Mary Hardin-Baylor was picked second with 55 points and four first-place votes and Texas-Dallas collected 49 points and two first-place votes to rank third. Playing in their first season of competition Concordia Texas was selected fourth (25), Sul Ross State fifth (24) and Howard Payne sixth (18).

Bizot, the 2015 ASC East Division Coach of the Year, returns nine players from a squad that won the ASC Championship with an unblemished 4-0 record in conference play and competed in the NCAA Division III Championship Regionals. Hardin-Simmons coach Shane Williford returns nine players from a 2015 squad that went 3-1 against the West Division.

Among the players returning for the new season are three all-conference selections, including Budd and Hardin-Simmons sophomore B.J. Farmakis. Budd was named the East Division Most Valuable Player with a 14-6 record in No. 1 singles and went undefeated with a 3-0 run through division opponents. Budd teamed with Harry Kelleher for a 3-0 division record in No. 2 doubles and helped lead the Patriots to their second consecutive ASC Championship. Budd was also named to the All-Conference team at No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles.

Belhaven will play in its first men’s tennis season as a conference member as the Blazers joined the ASC in the fall of 2015. Playing in their inaugural season, Concordia Texas will be the first to take the court in the 2016 season as the Tornados take on Rio Grande Valley on Friday.

2016 ASC Men's Tennis Preseason Poll
East Division

Rank Team (1st place votes) Points 2015 Record
1. Texas-Tyler 55 (11) 4-0 / 17-8
2. East Texas Baptist 38 1-3 / 3-9
3. LeTourneau 34 2-2 / 7-9
4. Ozarks 27 3-1 / 10-5
5. Louisiana College 11 0-4 / 1-9
  Belhaven#   16-5

# Ineligible for 2016 ASC Championship/NCAA Tournament (NCAA Div. III Reclassifying/Provisional Member)
West Division

Rank Team (1st place votes) Points 2015 Record
1. Hardin-Simmons 60 (5) 3-1 / 4-13
2. Mary Hardin-Baylor 55 (4) 4-0 / 11-4
3. Texas Dallas 49 (2) 2-2 / 5-9
4. Concordia Texas 25 N/A
5. Sul Ross State 24 1-3 / 2-11
6. Howard Payne 18 0-4 / 0-11
  McMurry%   17-7

% Ineligible for 2016 ASC Championship/NCAA Tournament (NCAA Div. III Reclassifying)
2016 ASC Men's Tennis Preseason Players to Watch
Players selected by their respective head coach

Name Cl. School
Rafael Siqueira Sr. Belhaven
Omar Lopez Jr. Belhaven
Gabriel Borunda Fr. Concordia Texas
Alex Hunt Fr. Concordia Texas
Tyler Tolopka Sr. East Texas Baptist
Connor Mason So. East Texas Baptist
Alex Hunt Fr. Hardin-Simmons
B.J. Farmakis* So. Hardin-Simmons
Edgar Torres Jr. Howard Payne
Drew Lambert Jr. Howard Payne
Morgan Weaver Sr. LeTourneau
Michael McLaughlin Sr. LeTourneau
Scott Wilding* Jr. Mary Hardin-Baylor
Alex Mackellar Fr. Mary Hardin-Baylor
Tom Weir Sr. McMurry
Carlos Perez Sr. McMurry
Dillon Murray Jr. Ozarks
Jacob Organ So. Ozarks
Todd Barajas Sr. Sul Ross State
Brian Arriaga Jr. Sul Ross State
Alberto Hernandez Fr. Texas Dallas
Christian Duarte So. Texas Dallas
Daniel Budd* Sr. Texas-Tyler
Arthur Fagundes Fr. Texas-Tyler

*2015 All-Conference