Oct. 31, 2000
By Jacob BarkerClemson Sports InformationThe Georgia Tech Game Program – October 28, 2000
With four of the top six singles players returning from a team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last spring, Clemson men’s tennis Head Coach Chuck Kriese has every reason to be excited for the start of the upcoming season.
Now entering his 26th season at the helm of the Tiger program, Kriese has established himself as one of the most successful coaches in the history of college tennis. During his career, he has compiled a 521-307 overall record and entering this season he is ranked ninth for most wins among active Division I coaches and 13th all-time among active and retired coaches. He has won 10 ACC regular season titles, 10 ACC tournament titles, and in 1995 he became the ACC’s all-time winningest coach in terms of total conference victories.
In 2001, the master mind Kriese will look to guide the Clemson program back into the national spotlight of college tennis. “All the ingredients are there,” Kriese said of this year’s team. “They are the most solid group of individuals I have ever coached. They have great character and comradery, and their work ethic is excellent. These group of guys have done all the right things but we have such high expectations for Clemson tennis and for Clemson athletics that we know that there is still more for this team to accomplish.”
Senior Josh Goffi won the 1999 ACC Championship at number three-singles and will be counted on to lead the Tigers at the number-one position this season. Goffi was Clemson’s lone participate in the NCAA Singles Championship last season and he is currently ranked 18th nationally in singles and sixth nationally in doubles. Last season, while playing all of his dual matches at the number-one position, Goffi posted a 22-15 overall record and a 3-5 mark in league play. In doubles, he finished with an overall record of 27-13 and teamed with Darren Knight at the number-one position to finish 8-1 in ACC play.
“Josh has been a great leader over his career and he has stood up to every challenge that I have given him as a coach,” Kriese said. “He has played number-one doubles for three years and he should be our top player in singles and in doubles this season.”
Joining Goffi as the only other senior on this year’s team is Brad Emendorfer. Emendorfer posted an 8-4 record in doubles last season and his 15 overall singles’s victories were fifth best on the team. He played a majority of his singles matches at the number-three and number-four positions and will likely remain in those slots this season.
“Brad gives everything he has every time he steps on the court,” Kriese said. “His leadership and work ethic are so valuable and in many ways he is the glue to our team.”
Darren Knight, Joey Hopke, and Marko Gojanovic are now juniors and all three will play valuable roles in 2001. Over his career, Knight has been one of Clemson’s most consistent double’s performers. After red-shirting the 1998-1999 season, his 28 overall doubles wins last season were most on the team. Also in doubles, he and Josh Goffi posted an impressive 8-1 record in ACC play and earned a berth in the NCAA Doubles Championship.
“Darren has been a very solid double’s performer over his career. We would like for him to step up and contribute more in singles this season, but coming off two arthoscopic knee surgeries, that is still a question mark right now,” said Kriese.
Hopke red-shirted last season because of an arm injury, but Kriese is counting heavily on his return to the lineup.
“Joey was very disappointed to have to sit out last season but he has made great strides this fall and I am expecting good things from him this season,” Kriese said.
Last season in singles, Gojanovic saw time at the number-three, four, and five positions and finished with a 20-15 overall record. In doubles, he teamed with Tomasz Boniecki at the number-two position to post an overall record of 15-8 and a 4-3 mark in the ACC.
“Marko was our most improved player last season. He is very intelligent on the court and he has the potential of being a great number-one or number-two single’s player.”
After solid freshman campaigns, Kriese is hoping sophomores Micah Thompson and Eric Cohn will continue their excellent play this season. While playing in the number-four, five, and six positions in singles last season, Thompson finished with a 12-13 overall record and a 4-3 mark in the ACC.
“I really look for Micah to step up this season,” said Kriese. “He has all the tools to be a great player for us over the next three years.”
Cohn had several key victories in singles towards the end of last season and in doubles he teamed with Sandon Barth to win the ACC Championship at the number-three position.
“Eric was a very pleasant surprise last year,” Kriese said. “He might be the best pure double’s player on our team and he is very close to becoming a dominant singles’s player as well.”
Damiisa Robinson and Kevin Gottfried red-shirted last year as freshman, but Kriese is optimistic these two players and true freshman Lee Taylor Walker will add much needed depth to this year’s team.
“Damiisa reminds me of a young Josh Goffi. He has all the tools he needs to become a great player,” Kriese said.
Walker comes to Clemson from Jackson, Tennessee where he was an excellent all around athlete in high school. “Besides being an excellent tennis player, Lee Taylor was also an outstanding basketball player in high school. He knows how to compete and he is able to perform under pressure.”
Gottfried is from Ponte Verda Beach, Florida, and his solid play on the court this fall has already impressed Kriese.
“Kevin is as solid as a rock on the tennis court. He is lightening quick, and has an amazing ability to be able to concentrate and compete at a very high level. If he can improve his accuracy on his ground strokes then he could be a very dangerous player.”
Head Coach Chuck Kriese knows from experience what it is going to take for Clemson to become a dominant program in college tennis once again. With the 2001 season approaching, all the ingredients are in place for Clemson tennis team to have another successful season on the court and for the tennis program to make a resurgence into the national spotlight.
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