02/03/2011 – The men's tennis team, led by Jerry Hendrick, has entered the 2011 season ranked 21st in the NAIA based on the preseason coaches poll.
The Saints lost the services of three players to graduation from last year's squad that finished runner-up in Region Eight and was ranked among the top 25 in the nation. These players include Tuan-Anh Tran, Nick Ludwig and Dan Doerrfeld. Tran played first singles and doubles and over the course of his career accumulated more than 100 total wins. Ludwig and Doerrfeld were also key contributors during their careers at Aquinas and played especially important roles during their senor year. Ludwig played mostly second singles and Doerrfeld played #6 singles and #3 doubles and also accumulated over 100 wins. Despite the loss of these three players, the Saints are very excited about the coming year and are setting their hopes high as they look toward the future.
This year's team returns junior Travis Wolf, who previously played #3 singles and had the best overall record on last year’s team. Also returning is sophomore Kyle Mastellar, who played #4 singles and #1 doubles in his freshman year. Other returnees include junior Michael Sendor who split playing time with Doerrfeld at #6 singles and was a regular in the doubles line-up, and sophomore Andrew Jary, who saw playing time in both singles and doubles. Returning to the line-up this year will be junior John Telfer who sat out all of last season with an injury. John had been expected to play in the upper half of the line-up last year before being hurt. With his complete recovery and hard off-season work he is expected once again to compete for both a singles and doubles position.
New-comers to the Saints squad this year include four freshmen. At the top of this list is Aaron Hendrick of Grand Rapids Northview High School. Aaron comes to Aquinas as a four-time first team all-state player and the 2008 #1 singles Division 2 state champion. Aaron spent most of his senior year ranked among the top 20 players in the USTA Midwest region and was one of four finalists for the Michigan Mr. Tennis award. Another top recruit is Nik Artaev from St. Joseph’s High School. Nik was the 2009 #3 singles state champion for his high school which also won the team championship. Nik graduated from his high school with the all-time record for most singles wins over the course of his career. Nik will bring not only a personal familiarity with success but also a powerful game that coach Hendrick is sure will improve. A third freshman recruit for this year’s team is Brendan Petz from Gross Point South High School. Brendan played both singles and doubles over his high school career and in only a short period of time at Aquinas has already shown considerable progress earning several wins in the fall ITA tournament. Brendan is expected to challenge for a spot near the bottom of the line-up. The final freshman recruit is Fransisco Huber, from Argentina. Fransisco will be joining the Saints roster in January and will be expected to contribute immediately.
Overall, expectations at Aquinas are very high for an especially successful season of tennis. This year's team will once again attempt to defeat all in-state rivals, achieve a top 15 ranking, and qualify for the National Championship tournament to be played in Mobile Alabama in May. Given the combination of talented youth and experienced veterans, the Saints are looking forward to a successful 2011.