Longhorns’ men’s tennis faces tough opponents in two tournaments this weekend

Lauren Jette

Texas will kick off the fall season this weekend with tournaments in Midland and Illinois.

Returning juniors Daniel Whitehead and Alex Hilliard will lead the team competing at the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational in Midland, along with freshmen Jacoby Lewis and Soren Hess-Olesen. The group competing at the Olympia Fields Invitational in Olympia Fields, Ill., includes juniors Ben Chen, Chris Camillone and sophomores David Holiner and Sudanwa Sitaram. Both tournaments will take place this Friday through Sunday.

“It’s always a strong field in Midland,” said head coach Michael Center.

Other schools that will be represented at the tournament include Texas Tech, Tulsa and Texas A&M.

Those playing in the Olympia Fields Invitational will face tough competition as well, according to the coach.

“In Chicago, we’ll have Kentucky, Notre Dame, Illinois and Alabama,” Center said.

The team has six returning lettermen from last year’s team that made it to the semifinals of the Big 12 championships and the round of 32 at the NCAA Championships.

The Longhorns also open the season with two singles players and one doubles team in the Preseason ITA Rankings. Whitehead is ranked No. 59 after he finished last season with a 27-9 singles record. Chen is ranked 113th after recording a 16-11 singles record last year. Holiner and Hess-Olesen are both ranked 55th in the doubles rankings after Holiner posted a 4-3 dual-match singles record last season.

The team finished with a 19-9 record after losing in the second round of the NCAA Championships last season but looks forward to improving on that mark this year.

“The work ethic and attitude have been as good as we had hoped for,” Center said. “Everyone is working extremely hard and showing what they can do.” Center said he looks forward to getting the season started against some tough competition.

“We will get tested, and these will be great tournaments to get the fall season kicked off,” he said.

Printed on Friday, September 16, 2011 as: Double dose of tourneys await tenured Texas squads.