MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007
Men's tennis battled back in 2007

July 16, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The 2006 season was a nightmare for the JU men's tennis team.

But out of that nightmare came the 2007 team - young and loaded with talent and the ability to battle for a conference title in the near future.

From one win in 2006 to 14 in 2007...not a bad turnaround in one season with five new players in the starting lineup.

"This group has the potential to do some special things in the next couple of years," said JU head coach Jarod Camerota. "We were young and inexperienced at the beginning of the year, but the guys kept grinding all year. The improvement that we made from the start of the year to the end was fun to see and I believe the start of something really special."

One of the players that led the resurgence of the program was Jordi Ballester. Ballester, an all-conference honoree, led the Dolphins with a 15-5 record at the No. 1 position.

While Ballester played in the top spot, he only had the second-best record in singles play. The best record belonged to Ernesto Ramos - who was 16-3 at the No. 3 and 4 positions. On the season, five of the six players in the starting lineup finished with winning records.

Francisco Riveroll, an all-freshman team selection, was 14-7 at the No. 2 position while Victor Vaz was 12-9 at the No. 3 and 4 positions.

Marcos Oliveria, the lone returnee from the 2006 campaign, was 9-6 at the No. 6 position.

After a 3-4 start, the Dolphins caught fire - winning six in a row to improve to 9-4. Despite two straight losses, JU ended its season winning five of its last six matches - the only loss coming to eventual champion East Tennessee State in the conference semifinals.

"This season was a great experience for me and all of the guys on the team," Camerota said. "They have seen firsthand what it takes to compete at the top level in this conference and that is where we want to get to."