Review of 2012-13 Men's Team
After a 2012 season that ended with a 8-13, 1-9 record and a ranking of #67, there was some hope for improvement for the 2013 season. No seniors had left, and the team was expected to come back with more experience. Personally, I had hopes of a record above .500 and a Top 40 season. These goals are criteria for a team to be selected for the NCAA tournament. The Canes had missed two of the last three tournaments and there was some hope that they would get back.
The season did not start off well when senior Mark Schanerman was arrested on Nov. 30 for drug offenses. He was dropped from the team without any sort of announcement or information.
The dual season started on Jan. 19 with a double-header against Florida and Bethune-Cookman. Until the last couple weeks of the regular season, there were not many surprises. The Canes beat who they were capable of, but were not able to pull off many upsets. Their best wins were probably against the Big Ten's Minnesota Golden Gophers, who were ranked #61 and Conference USA's Rice who were ranked #50. Their worst loss was perhaps to Atlantic Sun's North Florida who were ranked #62 and beat the Canes at Coral Gables.
On April 6, the Canes stood at 13-8, 2-4 and were ranked #52. This was already five wins better than the previous season and with the last four ACC dual matches coming up, the Canes were in control of their own destiny. Beating top ten teams Virginia and Duke would be tough, but they seemingly had a good chance to take down #69 North Carolina and #52 Virginia Tech. Beat these teams and win one round in the ACC tournament, and the Canes had a pretty good chance to extend their postseason.
The wheels completely came off the last two weeks of the season. First, the Canes went up to UNC and fought hard but were beaten 5-2. Two days later they were handed a complete 7-0 beatdown by #9 Duke. The worst loss came against Virginia Tech at home with another 7-0 drubbing. The last dual match of the regular season was another 7-0 loss to #1 Virginia.
The Canes were seeded #9 in the ACC tournament and had to beat #8 seed UNC and #1 seed Virginia to have hope for a NCAA berth. They never even got close with yet another disheartening 4-0 loss to UNC to end their season. According to some fans who were at the tournament, many of the Canes did not look good in any way, mentally or otherwise. In their last five dual matches for the season, the Canes went 4 wins and 29 losses. The Canes finished the season 13-13, 2-8 and probably a final ranking around #60.
With such a poor performance during the last month of the season, it is difficult to expect or hope for the 2014 season to be much better than the last. The Canes lose senior Victor Mauz, but his record was only a 6-11 at the 4~6 singles slot so it is not a huge loss.
Junior Diego Soto was the most valuable player for the Canes this season, going 12-13 in the incredibly tough No. 1 singles slot. He even won the ACC Player of the Week Award once during the season and should be even better next year.
Junior Gabriel Flores went 13-12 mostly in the No. 2 spot. Some of the fans at the ACC tournament noticed that he seemed very disheartened during and after his match. Here's hoping that he can get some well-deserved rest and bounce back next season.
Sophomore Wilfredo Gonzalez put up a 16-8 record in the No. 3 singles slot. From the matches and reports I was able to see, as well as some of his results, I would want to give him the Fighting Spirit Prize. He never seems to give up or back down until the match is over.
Junior Omar Aly finished with a 7-6 record mostly as the No. 4 player. Aly's doubles team with Gonzalez was the Canes best team, and they were the only Canes to be ranked nationally this year when they received a ranking of #66 on March 26.
Junior Marco Stancati lost some tough matches this year but still managed to finish with a 8-9 record as No. 5.
Freshman William Albanese did great for the team this year, going 13-9 but that was mostly in the No. 6 singles slot.
Sophomore Henrique Tsukamoto played the occasional No. 5 or 6 spot, but his biggest contributions this year was in the doubles with Stancati.
Freshman Jack Murphy was not used much until the end of the season. His record in the fall season was not good at all to say the least so he will need to improve quite a bit over the summer if he is hoping to be in the singles lineup next year.
Recruiting does not help the situation as it is right now. The only recruit lined up is 4-star and #128 Ber**** Tefel. The Tennis Recruiting Network does not show any prospects with more than 3-stars. Coach Mario Rincon will need to go international to find some players to play for the Canes. With only 4 and a half scholarships available and Miami's high tuition, it makes it very tough for a team like the Hurricanes to pick and choose the players it wants. Coach Rincon is going to have to figure out something soon and pull something out of his magic hat before the four juniors graduate after next season.
So what can we expect for next season? The team will have another season under its belt so we may be able hope for a 15-win season and a 40ish ranking, but other than that, I'm going to have to chug down some green-orange koolaid before I make any more NCAA berth predictions Here's hoping that Coach and staff can find a couple of ready-to-go international players, especially before next season ends. If not, the bottom could completely drop out and we may be looking at some major changes in Miami hurricanes men's tennis.