RCC’s No. 1 tennis player will return for 2013 season

By Norihito Ikeda / Staff Writer

By Norihito Ikeda / Staff Writer

Riverside City College men’s tennis ended the 2012 season, with the good records for their plays.

The Tigers finished their regular season, with overall record 14-6.

“It was a good season overall,” Jim Elton, coach of the Tigers, said. “Our goals are usually to win conference.”

They finished the Orange Empire Conference in second place and advanced into the Southern California Regionals.

“We made it six out of my seven years (as coach). It was nice to get back to the playoffs, the year before was the only time we did not make it to the playoffs,” Elton said. “Sophomores played well, the freshmen played well. We have got good core group of freshmen coming back next year.”

The Tigers won eight games and lost two games in OEC, and both of two losses were to Saddleback which got championship.

“We have two truly disappointing losses, those are both 5-4 matches to Saddleback,” he said. “If we won both of those matches, we would have been 16-4, and we would have been conference champs. We were 8-2 in conference; we lost (both of our conference) matches to Saddleback.”

Elton picked the Tigers No. 1 player, Jordan Gobatie, as the team’s most valuable player for the season.

“Jordan played No. 1 all year. He played the best player on the other team every time, and he had pretty good records, I think he was seeded seventh going into Southern Cal Regionals,” Elton said. “As a freshman, that is pretty good.”

Elton expects Gobatie to return to the team next season and thinks there are still some areas he can improve on to get better.

“(Gobatie) has played full year at No. 1. He knows what to expect, he knows what he needs to improve on; the mental aspect of his game, his serving and his ground strokes,” Elton said.

“It is not going to be a new experience for him next year. He is going to have some experiences that help him, especially in a mental game.”

Some of the other players returning to the Tigers’ team next season are Josh Stevenson, Aliaksandr Pesniak, and Colten Douglass.

“They all got their first taste of what it means to play community college tennis,” Elton said. “They all bring their own strengths, and they know what they need to work on.”

Some of the players who completed their two years of careers at RCC will not return to the team next season, like Ramazan Nureev, Theo Arruda and Tavyn Libao.

“(Nureev, Arruda, and Libao) were really solid players for us,” Elton said.

Nureev, who is originally from Russia, joined the RCC tennis team as a sophomore; after playing his freshman season at Northwood University.

“Overall, (Nureev is) a pretty good year playing No. 2; with (Nureev and Gobatie), we had two players, either one could play No. 1,” Elton said. “That is nice to have on your team.”

Arruda mostly played either No. 2 or No. 3 singles game for the Tigers.

“(Arruda) is a really good consistent player. He is responsible and took care of his work,” Elton said.

“He is always practicing. He is a good player for my team.”

Libao, who played No. 4 or No. 5 singles game, also completed his career at RCC. He joined the Tigers this year as a sophomore.

“Tavyn came to us this year as a sophomore. He played somewhere else as a freshman, and was a good local player for Redlands,” Elton said. “He was another solid player.”

Elton said that good tennis players can play consistently.

“To be successful in tennis, you have got to have consistent play from the top of your ladder to the bottom of your ladder,” he said.

Elton works on recruiting new players out of local high schools.

“There are some good local players coming in from local high schools,” he said.

“We are still working on out of state, and the international players that may be interested in coming here.”

Jordan Gobatie, Ramazan Nureev, Theo Arruda, and Aliaksandr Pesniak earned All-Orange Empire Conference Honors for making it to the Regional to the tournament.