Monday, August 05, 2002Johnson City, Tenn. (August 5, 2002) - East Tennessee State University has released its men's tennis schedule for the upcoming 2002-03 season. The Buccaneers will begin play on Sept. 20, 2002 when they host the ETSU Fall Intercollegiate Championships. The tournament will kickoff an intense fall season, where the Bucs will also compete in numerous Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) tournaments in hopes of qualifying for the championship round at the ITA Omni Indoor Championships in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 7-10. "We always look forward to the fall season," head coach Dave Mullins said. "We play in some of the biggest tournaments in the country, and our players get to compete against a lot of nationally ranked players and teams. It gives a good indication early on of where we are, and what we need to do to improve." Following the Omni Indoor event, ETSU will be on a short break until it resumes the spring season in January. The Bucs, who finished last season ranked #67 by the ITA, will again compete against some of the top programs in the country such as Tennessee, who finished last season ranked #6 in the nation, Virginia Commonwealth (#19) and Wake Forest (#27). The team's regular season will conclude at home versus Chattanooga on April 11, 2003. Mullins will attempt to lead the Bucs to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance if ETSU can win back-to-back Southern Conference Tournament Championships on April 16-19, 2003. Mullins coached the Bucs to a 9-1 record in the SoCon last year (17-8 overall), including an upset victory over top-ranked Furman (#68) in the SoCon Tournament championship. ETSU has everyone from last year's roster returning with the exception of all-conference performer Roberto Fernandez (Cuernavaca, Mexico). "We are excited about the way we closed the season last year," Mullins said. "Our players are looking forward to getting back into tournament play."
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