The Rattlers fell one win short of having a 20 win season last year, going 19-11 in their 30 dual matches. This year’s schedule includes a match against the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s No. 35 team, the University of Miami Hurricanes. “The men’s tennis team has four goals this year,” said Carl Goodman, FAMU men’s tennis coach. “Our goals are to win the MEAC, to have a 20 win season, to get a national ranking and to play in the NCAA tournament,” Goodman said.
The Valentine’s Day match may help the Rattlers earn national ranking, as schedule strength is among the determining factors for ITA rankings.
Hampton may be the biggest obstacle standing between FAMU and the NCAA tournament.
Last season the Rattler men were 12-2 in the MEAC during the regular season with their two conference losses dealt by Hampton on March 11 and April 26.
Hampton also defeated FAMU in the finals of the MEAC championship tournament last April for the Pirates’ third straight conference title, their seventh in the last eight years.
The Rattlers, who have not won the MEAC championship since 2000, face the challenge of attempting to accomplish these goals without seniors. This year’s team boasts two returning juniors, Pfungwa Mahefu and Davin Russel. The team’s chance at success depends upon the performance of players new to the team.
“This year is going to be tough,” said Mahefu, a junior political science student from Mutare, Zimbabwe, who is also the team’s top ranked player. “The whole team is depending on youngsters.”
The newcomers possess the talent and determination needed to carry the load for the team this year.
“I am definitely ready to do whatever is necessary to help my teammates win,” said Frank Green III, a redshirt sophomore from Philadelphia.
Green, a transfer from Louisiana State University, was ranked No. 14 in the nation in the United States Tennis Association’s boy’s 16 and under singles rankings during June 2001.
The Rattlers have also added a top 10 junior college transfer to this year’s team.
Yves Sinson, from Jefferson College, in Hillsboro, Missouri, and native of Saint Lucia, West Indies, was ranked ninth the National Junior College Athletic Association last season by the ITA.
“We have the talent,” Goodman said. “Us winning is just a matter of consistency.”
Contact Nick Birdsong at firstname.lastname@example.org