YOTE NOTES - EDITION 1 (SEASON PREVIEW)
COMING UP: Men – vs. Seattle, Friday, 3 p.m. (PT); vs. Whitworth, Saturday, 3 p.m. (PT); vs. Lewis-Clark State, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. (all matches at LCSC Tennis Center); Women – at George Fox, 2/11, 2 p.m. (PT); at Pacific, 2/12, 9 a.m. (PT)
2012 SYNOPSIS: With the majority of their ladder returning in 2012, the Coyote men look to make marked improvement this season, playing a competitive schedule – including two NCAA Division I teams. The Lady Yotes return five of their six players from last season and look to start the season strong against Division III teams.
LAST SEASON / PLAYERS LOST: The men’s team finished 2011 with a 3-11 record – but played some quality teams tough, including set wins against nationally-ranked Hawaii Pacific and BYU-Hawaii. The squad will have to replace No. 5 singles’ player Jaron Tietsort, who posted a 5-2 record last season. The Lady Yotes struggled against four-year programs last year, notching going 0-9 against NCAA and NAIA competition – taking just one team point in the process. However, they were a perfect 4-0 against junior colleges and take a four-match win streak into the new year. The squad will have to replace No. 1 singles player Molly Leadbetter, who graduated.
ABOUT THE COACH: Cisco Limbago is in his 27th year of coaching tennis at The C of I. A native of Waianae, Hawaii, he was a standout football player for the Coyotes, earning All-Northwest Conference honors. He is the longest tenured coach on The C of I staff. From 1987-91, the Coyotes won four of five NAIA District titles and competed at the NAIA Championships. During the 2001 and 2005 seasons, his squad placed second at the NAIA Regional Tournament. Limbago has recorded .500-or-better marks in 18 of his 26 seasons at The C of I. In addition to coaching at The C of I, Limbago was an elementary P.E. teacher in the Meridian School District, and has served as C of I's official scorer at basketball games for five decades. He is married to wife Mary Lou and has two children; Brandi and Dan.
MEN’S PREVIEW: The level of play for the Coyote men has improved each season since the program was reinstated in 2009. An experienced group of upper classmen will hold most of the ladder – including returning No. 1 singles’ player Chenjerai Simpson (St. John’s, Antigua / Island Acad.) and No. 2 player Mark Malmstrom (Boise, Idaho / Timberline HS), with Thomas McMahon (Hope, Idaho / Clark Fork HS) and Joel Hernandez (Caldwell, Idaho / Caldwell HS) at the No. 5 and 6 spots. The remaining singles’ spots will be a battle between sophomore Isaac Creed (Idaho Falls, Idaho / Bonneville HS) and freshmen Tanner Lair (Homedale, Idaho / Homedale HS) and Kenny Stark (Reno, Nev. / Reno HS). The Yotes will also feature a doubles’ specialist in freshman Zach Buker (Boise, Idaho / Capital HS).
WOMEN’S PREVIEW: The Lady Yotes start the year with a small roster of eight players – but have just one newcomer on their squad. Junior Hayley Hutchings (Nampa, Idaho / Skyview HS) will assume the No. 1 position in the ladder after two quality seasons at The C of I, with Theresa Kucera (Lewiston, Idaho / Lewiston HS) looking to have a spot in the upper portion of the ladder. Look for true freshman Shae Stults (Nampa, Idaho / Columbia HS), who has a pair of Top-5 finishes in the 4A state tournament to help the depth of the season.
A LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE: Both C of I teams will make early season trips to Lewiston and to the Willamette Valley for matches against NCAA and NAIA competition before a Spring Break trip to Northern California for four matches in four days. The teams will return home in April for a cluster of matches against junior college competition in preparation for the NAIA Unaffiliated Grouping No. 3 tournament in Oklahoma City – with the tournament winner earning a spot in the NAIA Championships.
THIS WEEKEND IN LEWISTON: The Coyote men open up the season this weekend, playing a trio of matches indoors at the Lewis-Clark State Tennis Center in Lewiston. The C of I opens against NCAA Division I Seattle U., facing the Redhawks (0-2) for the first time since 2001. SU dropped their program following the 2001 season (just as the Yotes did), but reinstated the team in 2008 as part of their move to the NCAA’s highest division. They are led by No. 1 singles’ player Mark Schrebkan, who earned All-Independent Team honors in 2011. Saturday, it’s a meeting with Division III Whitworth, a squad that qualified for the Northwest Conference postseason tournament a year ago. The Pirates (0-1) return their top two players from last season – No. 1 singles’ standout Daniel Redfern and No. 3 singles’ player Cameron Williams. The weekend ends against host Lewis-Clark State, the most dominant small-college program in the Northwest each year. The Warriors (0-0) return their top-two players from last year, as both Ivan Krijanto and Anders Tischer are currently ranked in the ITA individual standings.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more on the Coyote tennis program, head to the official homepages of C of I tennis – http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/tennis.