Augusta University men’s and women’s tennis coach Michael McGrath enters the 2024 campaign with relatively young teams, but both are coming off seasons where they reached the postseason.
The men advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional for the first time since 2015 and finished the year ranked in the top 25, and the women are coming off a second consecutive Peach Belt Conference Tournament appearance.
McGrath, who has been head coach for 26 years, said the teams played in a handful of tournaments in the fall and have been practicing since the beginning of the year. The squads are looking forward to finally playing matches that matter with the men starting Feb. 1 against USC Sumter at Newman Tennis Center and the women playing host to Benedict College on Feb. 2.
“We had a great year on the men’s side last year. We won seven or eight 4-3 matches toward the end,” McGrath said. “We have three seniors that have to step up. We have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and we can be a top 15 team if the chips fall right.”
Seniors Artur Abyan Davydovskiy, Quentin Cano Perez and Herick Isago will be looked upon to translate last year’s success to this season. Isago went 12-4 in singles matches last year, Abyan Davydovskiy went 3-4 in doubles and Cano Perez was 9-9 in singles action and 9-8 in his doubles matches.
“They are integral parts of this team. They stepped up last year, and I know they will step up again this year as leaders and mentors, not only on the court but in the classroom,” McGrath said.
The Jaguar men were picked fifth in the PBC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, and sophomore Enzo Garutti was named to the PBC Preseason All-Conference Team. The women were picked to finish sixth in the league. All voting and ranking was done by the league’s head coaches.
The women finished 2023 with a 10-13 record, advancing to the PBC tournament.
“Anytime you’re in the postseason, it augments the team, and the women were excited to qualify last year,” McGrath said. “We had five freshmen that contributed to that team, and to make it to the tournament was a huge success for them. The year of experience is going to pay dividends this year.”
Madeline Frediani is the lone senior on the women’s side but has excelled each year she’s been at AU and was named the captain entering the new year. Frediani went 6-13 in singles and 7-13 in her doubles matches. She and Landi, who finished 9-6 in singles action, teamed up for most of the matches as a doubles pair.