Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

Feb. 3, 2010
10:51 a.m.


During the men's tennis match against Pacific on Jan. 27, I was having a conversation with one of the spectators about the upcoming season.

Essentially he asked me what was the outlook for the 2010 spring season for the men's squad. I told him we had a very experienced team and a pretty successful fall and I think big things could happen this year.

Coincidentally Bulldog newcomer David Ayoun was sitting within hearing range of our conversation, so I said to him, "We should be in the hunt for a national championship this year - isn't that why we brought you in David?"

The spectator sitting next to me laughed it off and dismissed the notion, "Bro, this isn't the baseball team."

David, a native of France and has lived in the United State for less than a year, asked me what that means. I explained to him about the NCAA Tournament and how we have to qualify for that.

With a straight face, he looked me in the eye and said, "Yes, we have a chance."

Although I'm still getting to know David, one thing I know about him is he is one of the nicest people, that will go out of his way to come up to you, say hello and laugh at your jokes. So cocky is the last word I would use to describe David. But I was still confused why he would say that.

Maybe I didn't explain it well enough. Maybe he doesn't realize how hard it is to win a national championship and how many teams don't even qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Maybe he thought I meant something else.

Exactly three days later I received my answer.

The Bulldogs went into College Station, Texas and knocked off the No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies, 4-3, in one of the most hostile environments in college tennis. The next day, they swept a respectable 34th-ranked Rice team, 4-0.

Now the Bulldogs have a chance to make some more noise against the elite teams of tennis at the ITA National Team Indoors Sweet 16 in Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 12-14.

The reason he said it is because he's a competitor and knows this is a talented team that never considers itself out of any match. And frankly, why shouldn't an athlete give himself a chance to be the very best, even if the whole world disagrees? Didn't we learn anything from the summer of 2008?

One thing I know I learned is when David Ayoun speaks, listen up. He understood your question perfectly.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

Oct. 16, 2009
10:51 a.m.


As is the case every year, players the Bulldog faithful have grown to know and love graduate and new players come in to the programs. The 2009-10 season isn't any different. The Fresno State women in particular had a drastic overhaul in the lineup and most of their team is new this year. The men also brought in some new faces this year.

Here's a little information about the four new women and three new men.


Bianca Modoc -- A freshman from Yorba Linda, Calif., in Orange County, but openly-proclaims she's not your typical O.C. girl. She's a hard worker and intense competitor, who went undefeated in league play all through high school. Fresno State tennis is a family tradition - her older brother Sergiu played here from 2002-06. She also has two cats she loves dearly. She plans on majoring in nursing.

Melissa McQueen -- Head coach Simon Thibodeau scoured his native Canada for this recruit. The freshman from Whitby, Ontario, is one of the best pure athletes on the team and also one of the funniest people away from the court. An avid reader and excellent student, she was on the honor roll for three years in high school. She is majoring in Kinesiology.

Anna Mikhaylova -- At 6-foot-1 and 17 years old, this freshman from Obninsk, Russia, is both the tallest and youngest member of the squad. Despite her youth, she lists politics and economics as some of her hobbies.

Olga Kirpicheva -- This freshman was born in Tchernovtsy, Russia, and grew up in Alicante, Spain. She is fluent in Russian, Spanish and English. In her free time, she loves music, movies and snowboarding.


David Ayoun -- This sophomore Frenchman transferred to the Bulldogs from the University of Paris. He has a tradition of growing his beard out for matches to commune with the inner-beast, but later shaves, slicks his hair back, puts on his shades and basically looks completely different. With Ayoun's arrival this year, it's undetermined whether sophomore Remi Boutillier will retain the nickname of "Frenchie."

Hugo Verdi Fortin -- A French Canadian freshman from Laval, Quebec. He enjoys all types of sports and lists James Blake as his favorite athlete, because of he overcame a major head injury and the death of his father. His last name - Verdi Fortin - comes from his mother's last name Verdi and his father's last name Fortin.

Sebastian Hafner -- This freshman from Bad Homburg, Germany, can lay claim to the title of Hessenmeister, which is the equivalent of the state champion of the German state of Hessen, but sounds so much cooler. He's a very upbeat person that seems to always have a smile.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

May 15, 2009


Gloria is now up 5-4 in a tiebreaker in the first set.


Northwestern won on Court 2.

Fresno State's Reny Kucerkova battled back to win the first set 7-5. Gloria is up 6-5 in the first set.


The Wildcats won on Court 6.

Northwestern is showing why they are the No. 1 team in the country and continue to play smart, disciplined tennis. But the Bulldogs are showing why you can't count them out either, keeping the matches close. Northwestern won the first set on Courts 5 and 6.

As can be expected Northwestern came out on fire for singles. On Court 1, No. 18 Melanie Gloria and No. 1 Maria Mosolova's match is shaping up to be another classic.


The Bulldog doubles fought hard for every point. Northwestern is very well-disciplined team that doesn't give up very many unforced errors. The Wildcats won on Courts 1 and 3, to earn the doubles point.

The teams are warming up and singles is about to begin in one minute.

NCAA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS -- Follow the live scoring at

Simon Thibodeau
Fresno State Head Coach

May 15, 2009
12:10 p.m. PT

Dear Bulldogs Fans,

Our journey to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 has been quite an adventure.

May 7th: We flew out of Fresno on Thursday and arrived at the Chicago O'Hare airport in the afternoon. We drove 3 hours in traffic to Champaign, Ill.

May 8th: We had a day of practice in windy, cold Champaign, Ill.

May 9th: We were selected to play the earlier match at 9 a.m., which was 7 a.m. PT, and defeated Eastern Kentucky 4-0.

May 10th: We won a thrilling match against host Illinois, 4-3, and we left Champaign, Ill., at 5 p.m. CT to Chicago to catch an early flight to Houston.

May 11th & 12th: We landed in Houston, stayed there two nights and got used to Texas humidity and windy weather at Rice University's campus.

May 13th: We drove to College Station, Texas, and practice twice at the NCAA Championships (Texas A&M) site.

May 14th: Our final preparation segment for our Sweet 16 match at the Texas A&M dorms and suites.

May 15th: Today, is our match day, and the team is in good spirits and focused in preparation for the big match.

We feel confident about playing well today, we need to play the doubles point like we are capable of.

Hope the team will feel your positives vibes on this blog, we can win this match, Go Dogs!

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

May 15, 2009
11:59 a.m. PT

Fresno State has advanced to the Sweet 16 the past four seasons, and six times in school history, but the 2009 appearance has already been different from all the others.

Fresno State features four seniors playing in the Sweet 16 for the fourth-straight year and those seniors are determined to break into the Elite Eight.

The team also has two juniors who happen to form the No. 1 doubles team in the country and are each ranked in the Top 75 in singles.

Four of the 2009 Bulldogs are on the school's Top 20 wins list.

But with all the differences, the objective remains the same.

"We've been waiting the whole year for this, so we are really excited about it," junior Renata Kucerkova said.

With all the Bulldogs have been through, they have to chemistry and camaraderie to help each other through this challenge.

"We're seven girls and we get along pretty well," Kucerkova said.

For freshman Laura Pola, the experience is something new, but she's figured out one thing already - don't overcomplicate it.

"It's just like any other place we go or any other dual match we play, but there is much more on the line," freshman Laura Pola said. "And there's a much bigger reward at the end of the line."

Now all they have to do is beat the No. 1 team in the country, Northwestern, and start the school's Elite Eight appearance streak.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

April 24, 2009
Updates are provided by Fresno State women's basketball coach Brett Frank, an avid tennis fan, who chose to attend the WAC Tournament while on vacation in Hawai'i. He is also blogging about his findings on

WAC TOURNAMENT UPDATES (WOMEN): Fresno State vs. Hawai'i (Semifinals)


9:46 pm -- Reny delivers the final blow, 6-2. Dogs move on to the championship! Order of Completion: 6, 5, 3*


9:44 pm -- Pola wins her match and Bulldogs take a 3-0 lead and are one match away from clinching.

9:41 pm -- Reny and Mel reach 5 as well. It's a race to see who finishes first.

9:38 pm -- Pola gets another game close, now 5-2.

9:35 pm -- Mel leads 4-0, Pola is ahead 4-1 and Reny follows closely with a 3-2 lead


9:31 pm -- Bruna powers on to the tune of 6-1 second set win.

9:27 pm -- Bruna is the odds-on favorite to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead, she is ahead 5-0 in the second set.

9:19 pm -- Tinesta Rowe makes it official that all the Bulldogs took their first set, by winning 6-4 in the opening frame.

9:15 pm -- Mel and AP are the next in line to win the first set with match 6-4 margins.

9:13 pm -- AP battles back from being down 4-1, to take a 5-4 lead. Pola captured the first set, 6-4.

9:01 pm -- Reny is the first to finish the initial set (6-2), followed by Bruna (6-2). The Bulldogs are leading on all courts but 2 and 5.

8:49 pm -- Hawai'i continues to press the Bulldogs. Every mathc is within one break. Mel, Renata, Tinesta and Bruna are ahead and Ap and Pola are behind.

8:40 pm -- Wahine keeping it close. Bruna is up 3-0 the only Bulldog in front. Mel and AP each behind 1-2.

8:29 pm -- Singles play just began.

8:17 pm -- Singles action to begin in 10 mins.


8:15 pm -- 'Dogs clinch the doubles point with an 8-5 victory for Pola/Beatty.

8:03 pm -- Mel/Tinesta seem to have found their groove and now lead 5-3. Consecutive games by Danon/Pola have them up 5-4.

7:58 pm -- AP/Reny wins 8-0.

7:56 pm -- AP and Reny have yet to lose a game in the WAC Tournament and are up 7-0. Mel/Tinesta up 4-3, Pola/Danon trail 3-4.

7:45 pm -- AP/Reny proving why they are the top team in college tennis, and are up 4-0. Mel/Tinesta up 2-1, Pola/Danon up 2-1.

7:38 pm -- Hawai'i is showing they are not going to lay down for the 'Dogs. AP/Reny 3-0, Mel/Tinesta 1-1, Pola/Danon 1-1.

7:33 pm -- 'Dogs start hot out of the gate on courts 1 and 3, but 2 is a little more competitive.

7:28 pm -- The Hawai'i fans came out to support their wahine and are loud and rowdy. They're hoping to inspire their team to an upset. Play has began.

7:12 pm -- Boise State def. Nevada 4-0 to advance to the WAC Championship. Fresno State's match should begin within the next five minutes.

6:11 pm -- Multiple matches in the Nevada/Boise St match went into a third set. Plus approximately 45 min warmup period. New estimated start time 7:11 pm PT.

6:07 pm -- The Boise State and Nevada match is still in progress. Expected delay approximately 20 mins, match should begin around 6:30 pm.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

April 23, 2009
Updates are provided by Fresno State women's basketball coach Brett Frank, an avid tennis fan, who chose to attend the WAC Tournament while on vacation in Hawai'i.

WAC TOURNAMENT UPDATES (WOMEN): Fresno State vs. San Jose State (First Round)

The Bulldogs will face the winner of the Hawai'i/New Mexico State match tomorrow at 6 p.m. PT.

MATCH SCORE: Fresno State 4, San Jose State 0, Final

7:25 pm -- The Bulldogs clinch on the racket of Renata Kucerkova, 6-0, 6-0. Order of Completion: 1, 5, 3.

MATCH SCORE: Fresno State 3, San Jose State 0

7:22 pm -- The Bulldogs take a commanding 3-0 lead, with Laura Pola winning 6-1, 6-0. The Spartans are on their last breath with Renata up 6-0, 5-0.

MATCH SCORE: Fresno State 2, San Jose State 0

7:16 pm -- Melanie is the first to finish -- 6-0, 6-0.

7:14 pm -- All cylinders are firing for the Bulldogs. AP and Bruna Paes each won their first set 6-0 also. Melanie is up 5-0 in her second set.

7:04 pm -- Melanie, Renata and Laura Pola each won their first sets 6-0.

6:55 pm -- Melanie Gloria is up 3-0 playing with a purpose and seems eager to close it out. Delays have slowed AP and Reny, but AP is winning 1-0 and Reny is ahead 2-0.

6:45 pm -- Singles play to being in one minute.

MATCH SCORE: Fresno State 1, San Jose State 0

6:33 pm -- AP/Reny and Pola/Beatty won 8-0 to earn the team point. Mel/Tinesta were just one point shy of closing it out.

6:29 pm -- Mel and Tinesta are up 7-0 looking like the favorite to finish first. However AP/Reny and Pola/Beatty are also up 7-0 now too.

6:24 pm -- All three Bulldog teams are up 5-0 now. Only question is which two will finish first to earn the team point.

6:22 pm -- Tinesta Rowe is completely dominating the net and won't let any balls past her on the service returns from her partner Melanie Gloria.

6:20 pm -- The Bulldogs appear to be in a hurry for tonight's banquet, and wasting little time with the Spartans. AP/Renata 4-0, Melanie/Tinesta 3-0, Pola/Danon 4-0.

6:14 pm -- All three doubles teams take a 1-0 lead in the first set.

6:08 pm -- Fresno State won the coin toss on all three courts and elects to serve.

6:07 pm -- Warmups complete. One minute until first serve.

5:55 p.m. -- Earlier today San Jose State won the play-in game and will face Fresno State. Earlier rain delayed previous matches, but the teams are warming up and are expected to begin on time. The Bulldogs look fresh and relaxed.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

April 9, 2009
10:35 a.m.

Tinesta Rowe's Top 10 Memories of Fresno State Tennis

On Saturday, Fresno State senior Tinesta Rowe will play her final match at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center as a Bulldog.

After four years of hard work, there has to be countless memories, but we asked her to narrow it down to 10.

Tinesta's Top 10

10. The day I decided to run across the road and my foot got caught in my pant and I dived in the middle of the road with the drivers at the stop light looking out at me. Then I got up, laughed and ran off with just a bruised palm.

9. The fun, crazy, loud rides in the van as we journeyed back from a victory.

8. Being in the final of the NCAA Doubles Championship with my partner Melanie (Gloria).

7. The athletics staff that makes sure that you are at your best mentally and physically, and on the right track academically.

6. Representing my college by playing my favorite sport, tennis, alongside some of the smartest individuals I know.

5. The emotions from watching and cheering for the athletes of all the teams as they compete with their hearts as Bulldogs.

4. Being in the class of some of the best teachers I will ever know -- teachers who make you want to come to class everyday as they make learning fun, encourage you, and find time to help you understand a topic better.

3. All the new friends I have met, who not only help me out when I missed lectures or come support me and my team during our matches, but are there for me as a true friend.

2. The families I met who have done nothing but make my feel right at home. Saying thanks would not be enough.

1. How nice people were to me when I came here during my first semester and had to get around on crutches.

Come show your support and appreciation for Tinesta and the other three Bulldog seniors, as they take the court at the Wathen Tennis Center for the final time on Saturday for a tripleheader against Louisiana Tech at 9 a.m., Utah State at 3 p.m. and New Mexico State at 6:30 p.m.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

April 1, 2009
4:05 p.m.

Q&A with Bruna Paes

Fresno State senior Bruna Paes took a minute to discuss her four years at Fresno State - the ups, the downs and the transition of moving from her home country of Brazil to Fresno, Calif. How long have you played tennis?
Bruna Paes: I started playing when I was six so about 15 years.

GB: What is your favorite part of the sport?
BP: Even though we also play doubles, I like how the sport is so individual. You have to be focused the whole time so the mental part is extremely important, and you also have to be physically in shape and practice a lot.

GB: Did you plan on coming to the US to play college tennis, or was that something that just kind of developed?
BP: When I started competing and doing well at the tournaments in Brazil and South America I wanted to be a professional player. When I was about 15 I realized that it was not as easy as I thought. There were no tournaments in Brazil or South America. I didn't have a sponsor, and I would have to stop going to school if I wanted to try to go pro. So I decided that it was a great opportunity to come here, keep playing tennis and still get a college degree.

GB: Despite English being the second language for the majority of the team, everyone speaks it rather well, did you basically have to learn it for tennis? Or was that something you had to learn when you came here?
BP: I had English classes at school, and when I moved here I thought that I could speak English well. I didn't realize how much I had to improve until I started going to class and trying to communicate with people. Haha. I had a really hard time my first semester, and it basically took me almost a year to feel comfortable with the language.

GB: What was the biggest adjustment for you when you came to the United States?
BP: The language was a big challenge and being away from my family and my friends was also really hard.

GB: Away from the court, what are some things you guys like to do together? What's the last thing you guys did together? Any funny stories?
BP: We hang out a lot together.We like to go out to eat, especially Japanese food, and just hang out since we all live at the same apartment complex. I think one thing that I will always remember is the day we beat No. 5 Cal last week, and it was also Danon's (Beatty) Birthday. We were singing, dancing and laughing the whole time on our way home. When we got back to Fresno we bought Danon a cake, and just celebrated her birthday and our win. We have so many funny stories that it's hard to say one, but they usually involve our freshman Laura (Pola) who is super clumsy and funny or me. One story that I think that I will remember was my freshman year. My English wasn't very good and we have this thing that when one of our teammates is about to break the serve of the opponent one of the girls screams: WHAT TIME IS IT? And we all say: BREAK TIME! It was the last match and there were a lot of people watching the match. One of my teammates said: WHAT TIME IS IT? And I screamed by myself different than everyone else: TIME TO BREAK (with the worst accent ever)! It was embarrassing.

GB: I understand there is a team CD that everyone picked some songs to include on it, what was your contribution?
BP: Usually I let my teammates pick, because I love Brazilian and techno music, and they don't like it very much. But I also enjoy the songs that are on our CD, they are popular songs and I will remember my moments with the team when I listen to them after I finish school.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

March 26, 2009
1:22 p.m.

Q&A with Rikus de Villiers

Whether it's his strong front court play or the mop-top hair, Rikus de Villiers is one of the most recognizable players on the Fresno State tennis team. The sophomore from South Africa sat down with to discuss everything from cricket to beating the Broncos. How long have you been playing tennis?
Rikus de Villiers: I started playing when I was about five.

GB: What got you started playing tennis?
RdV: My dad played all the time and I tagged along to practice, that got me started.

GB: Do you remember the first time you beat your dad?
RdV: Haha. I actually don't remember. He beat me for a very long time. Around the time when I started beating him he needed surgery in his back, so after that it doesn't count.

GB: What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
RdV: The strongest part of my game is my volleys. I love moving forward and the net is where I feel most at home.

GB: I understand you also play cricket, have you had a chance to play much since you've been in the US? Do you ever play cricket with any of your teammates, like Tejesvi Veerepali, who is from India and plays cricket too?
RdV: I actually haven't played at all since I've been here. I would like to but our schedule is quite busy.

GB: Are India and South Africa pretty big rivals in the cricket world? When you guys talk cricket is similar to when Laker fans talk basketball with Celtic fans?
RdV: India and South Africa are big rivals in cricket, but when we discuss it I think it's more civil than basketball. It's a gentlemen's game. Haha.

GB: This is your first year at Fresno State, have you fully grasped the Bulldog/Bronco rivalry? Or is it just another match for you?
RdV: I played against the Broncos when I was at Pepperdine, and even then I disliked them, so it isn't just another match. But it also isn't the only match that matters to me.

GB: Where are some of the places tennis has taken you? And do you have a favorite place in particular?
RdV: I have been to many places for tennis. I've been to the majority of the countries in Europe, I visited places like Paris and Barcelona about four times. I've been to various countries in Asia as well, including India, and then of course in Africa and North America. A favorite place is tough to choose, but I think Paris is up there.

GB: Away from the court what are some things you guys do together?
RdV: As a team, we like to just hang out and watch movies or something like that. Some of us also enjoy going to concerts, so we do that together. We spend most of our time together, one way or another.

GB: What was the last concert you guys went to?
RdV: The last one was by DJ Klaas. Funny story since the main DJ ended up not being there because of immigration issues.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

March 10, 2009
1:22 p.m.

Bulldog Match Day Atmosphere

In 2006 the WAC officially entered the Melanie Gloria era. The freshman from Montreal, Quebec, went 20-6, won the 2006 WAC Player of the Year Award and led Fresno State to a WAC Championship. Since then, no one else has won the Player of the Year Award and no other team has won the WAC title.

In fact, Gloria has never lost to a WAC opponent and Fresno State has never lost a WAC dual during her career as a Bulldog. As successful as Gloria and the Fresno State program are, it may surprise you how casual the match day atmosphere is at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center.

It's not unusual for the players to take a minute in warmups to thank the fans that came to support them. After the match, the players usually come up to the stands to cheer on their teammates. Bulldog tennis fans have more access to the athletes than most other sports.

Even behind closed doors, the pre-match atmosphere is surprisingly loose.

"We listen to our team CD, coaches bring snacks and we just hang out together before the match," Gloria said.

And what type of music do they listen to get the adrenaline flowing? Metallica? AC/DC? Maybe some Lil Wayne?

"'Beautiful' by Akon, 'Single Ladies' by Beyonce and few of our other favorite songs," Gloria said.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

March 4, 2009
12:10 p.m.

Mindset of a Champion

The Fresno State men's tennis team is 5-3 on the season, with wins over three ranked opponents, but the match that is most indicative of this team's true identity was the match against Middle Tennessee State last week.

To understand why the match was so pivotal, you have to take into consideration the background of the match.

The Bulldogs were hosting three teams in three days, and picked up a solid 5-2 win against No. 50 San Diego State on Friday. The next day, Fresno State and Arizona engaged in the best college tennis match I've seen (although I admit I'm new here). The contest was complete with high emotions, disqualifications, fan interaction and a tight score that came down to the final match.

The match didn't go the Bulldogs' way and the Arizona players charged their victorious teammate, Ravid Hazi, embracing him as they celebrated their 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

Losing is never a good thing, but none of the Bulldogs threw a fit or made a spectacle, and accepted the loss with class as they walked to their team room on backcourt.

For most of the fans, that was the last they saw of the Bulldogs that night. After giving coach Jay Udwadia time to address his time, I went to the trailer to take care of my media responsibilities. Behind closed doors, the Fresno State players couldn't hide their emotions and showed just how much a tight loss at home affects a passionate group of competitors. For a lot of teams a loss like this would break their spirits.

As I left the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center that night, I wondered to myself, "And this team is supposed to compete tomorrow?"

Turns out that I didn't understand the type of team I'm working with.

I showed up the next day for the 11 a.m. match-up against No. 66 Middle Tennessee State. The Fresno State team that seemed so heartbroken and distraught the night before was laughing smiling, playing loose and preparing for another match with a ranked team.

I don't know if the loss helped them focus more or served as extra motivated, but the Bulldogs played an impeccable match with minimal unforced errors as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over a respectable Blue Raiders squad.

That's how championship teams and successful people in general handle adversity. They remember everything constructive and what there is to learn and put everything negative behind them.

The Bulldogs throughout the year have not wavered in their focus of winning the WAC title this year, and seeing how they handled this adversity, there is no question they have the mental toughness to make an opponent shake in their boots when April or even May comes around.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

Feb. 24, 2009
3:30 p.m.

Petukhova and Kucerkova not the only Dominant Doubles Team at Fresno State

Fresno State recently received the distinction of have two doubles pairs named the No. 1 doubles team in the same season. Consistent doubles play has been a staple of Bulldog tennis for both the men's and women's squads.

The Feb. 19 ITA Tennis rankings listed Bulldog juniors Anastasia Petukhova and Renata Kucerkova as the top doubles team in the nation. Bulldog seniors Melanie Gloria and Tinesta Rowe were the preseason No. 1 and are currently ranked 14th in the country.

In addition to the two ranked teams, Laura Pola and Danon Beatty have joined forces to form a lethal combination for Fresno State. Recently Bruna Paes seemed to integrate flawlessly into the lineup, when she filled in for a sick Beatty. Baes and Pola easily defeated Saint Mary's Marah Calvo and Molly Aloia, 8-4.

The men are equally dominant in doubles action.

Mirko Zapletal and Rudolf Siwy are the No. 47 doubles team with a 7-3 record together this year. Newcomers Rikus de Villiers and Remi Boutillier have gelled almost instantly and have put together an 11-3 record on the year, and very well break into the rankings anytime. Juniors Taylor Leiby and Tejesvi Veerepali are 4-1 since being team together.

However since the dual season started, the Bulldog doubles have been especially deadly. The Fresno State women and men have only lost a combined five doubles matches. Here's a look at how the squads have fared in doubles matches in each of their respective dual matches.

Fresno State Women
1-0 vs. Denver (1/31/09)
2-0 vs. Vanderbilt (2/1/09)
3-0 vs. Georgia Tech (2/13/09)
1-2 vs. Clemson (2/14/09)
2-0 vs. Florida (2/15/09)
3-0 vs. Saint Mary's (2/21/09)
Total: 12-2

Fresno State Men
3-0 vs. Cal Poly (1/28/09)
2-0 vs. SMU (1/30/09)
2-1 vs. UCLA (1/31/09)
3-0 vs. Oregon (2/21/09)
0-2 vs. Washington (2/22/09)
Total: 10-3

At a combined 22-5 in doubles competition, it's almost become a foregone conclusion the Bulldogs' will win the doubles point.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

Feb. 17, 2009
1:33 p.m.

Rain Reaking Havoc on Home Schedule

This normally-arid desert known as Fresno, Calif., has seen an unusual amount of rainfall in recent days, corresponding with a gaggle of canceled home tennis matches for both of the Bulldog tennis squads.

According to, after only 17 days into February, Fresno has seen 2.59 inches of precipitation. The average for the entire month is just 2.12 inches. In February alone this has resulted in a women's match against Rice and a men's doubleheader canceled twice.

January was a different story all together, but with a similar ending. Fresno actually received 1.08 inches of rainfall - exactly half the monthly average. And there was only recorded precipitation on six of the 31 days in January. However, mother nature conveniently chose Jan. 24 and 25 for two of those six days, resulting in both the men's and women's home openers to be canceled. The men were able to reschedule and play three days later, but the women have yet to have their home opener.

Coincidentally, with all these rain problems here in Fresno, the men will be headed to Seattle this week to face the Pac-10's Washington and Oregon. But not to worry, the University of Washington has an indoor tennis center, if necessary.

Clay Moffitt
Fresno State Media Relations

Jan. 14, 2009
2:45 p.m.

Tennis Truely International

First off I want to say hello, my name is Clay Moffitt and I am the new media contact for the Fresno State men's and women's tennis teams. I'm taking over for Rob Allyn, and I'm excited to work with two of the school's most successful athletic programs.

Admittedly I didn't know much about the Bulldog tennis teams before taking this job, except I knew we had a pretty good women's doubles team with last names I couldn't pronounce. But I found out that was just scratching the surface. I would list the accomplishments of the squads, but Rob already did in a previous blog.

One thing I really like about tennis is geographic diversity of the participants, as is the case with both the Bulldog men and women. It reminds me of my mother's students. My mom is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, and growing up I would help her with class periodically. It was fun to learn about so many different cultures and people.

Between the men's and women's teams there are a total of 10 countries represented, including the US. There are three players from the Czech Republic (Renata Kucerkova, Rudolf Siwy, Mirko Zapletal), two from Canada (Melanie Gloria, Laura Pola), Brazil (Bruna Paes, Flavio Mollinedo) and India (Siddharth Alapati, Tejesvi Veerepalli), and one from Russia (Anastasia Petukhova), Jamaica (Tinesta Rowe), France (Remi Boutillier), Brunei (Ian Chok), South Africa (Rikus de Villiers) and the US (Damon Beatty).

Hopefully by the end of the season I won't butcher their names anymore.

Rob Allyn
Fresno State Media Relations

Oct. 29, 2008
2:00 p.m.

Freshmen Fitting in

The Bulldog men's and women's tennis teams have established themselves as members of the country's elite over the years. With that continued success it is very important to have freshmen step in and perform right away to push other members of the team in practice, tournaments and when dual matches begin.

Each team has two newcomers this year. The women's team has two freshmen, Abigail Olivier and Laura Pola, while the men's team has a freshman, Remi Boutillier and a sophomore transfer from Pepperdine, Rikus de Villiers.

All four Bulldog newcomers have been nothing short of amazing early in the fall season.

Olivier owns a singles record of 5-2 along with a Cal Nike Invitational Consolation title in the A-draw. Her run through the A-draw consolation bracket was highlighted by a straight set victory over #22 Claire Ilcinkas of Cal in her first collegiate event. Pola has a record of 6-2 in singles, and also won her respective consolation bracket at the Cal Nike Invitational in her first event as a Bulldog. Just three weeks later Pola reached the round of 32 at the ITA Northwest Championships.

The men's team has seen its own success out of their new competitors this season. De Villiers battled through the A-draw of the Bulldog Classic and captured the title after a victory in the finals over the tournament's top seed Pedro Zerbini of Cal. Boutillier and de Villiers also teamed up to pick up four victories as a duo in the A-draw doubles tournament earning a spot in the finals. De Villiers' has compiled a singles record of 7-1 during the fall season along with a 5-2 doubles record. Boutillier is 2-2 in singles and 4-1 in doubles.

With the promising start from the new competitors on both teams, the Bulldogs look to be among the elite in college tennis for years to come.

Rob Allyn
Fresno State Media Relations

Oct. 9, 2008
9:30 a.m.

An early season recap

Both the men's and women's tennis teams are off to a fast start to begin the fall season. Juniors Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova, (or AP as she's known on the team) reaching the final of the ITA All American doubles championship and senior Rudolf Siwy fighting through the qualifying rounds of the ITA All American singles championship and claiming a spot in the main draw (which begins today) are just a couple of the achievements the Bulldog tennis teams have accomplished in this young season.

I joined the Fresno State Media Relations department in late August, and that was the same time I learned I would be handling the media relations responsibilities for both tennis teams. Once I found out that tennis would have to quickly become one of my favorite sports, I logged on to to see how both teams performed last season. My first thought when I saw the laundry list of victories, rankings, awards, WAC championships, and NCAA tournament appearances both teams have accomplished was that I may not be worthy to handle a program with such a rich tradition here at Fresno State. After being around both the women's and the men's teams for about a month and a half and with the fall season in full gear right now, my nerves have calmed and I am excited to be able to work with and write about two tennis teams that are racking up victories left and right.

Below is a list of notable victories both teams have compiled so far:

  • Siwy and Mirko Zapletal advance to finals of the H.E.B. Baylor Invitational doubles tournament in their first event of the fall season.
  • Senior Danon Beatty reaches semifinals in singles at the Cal Nike Invitational.
  • Bulldog freshmen Abigail Olivier and Laura Pola win consolation championship of the gold and blue flights respectively.
  • Sophomore transfer Rikus de Villiers wins the Bulldog Classic A draw in his first event as a Bulldog. De Villiers went 5 0 in singles and defeated the tournament's top seed, Pedro Zerbini of Cal to take home the title.
  • De Villiers and freshman Remi Boutiller advance to finals of the doubles A draw of the Bulldog Classic.
  • Junior Flavio Mollinedo advances to the finals of the singles B draw of the Bulldog Classic.
  • Senior Melanie Gloria advances to the semifinals of the consolation bracket in the main draw at the ITA All American Championship.
  • Kucerkova and Petukhova claim spot in finals in doubles at the ITA All American Championship main draw. On their way to the finals the Bulldog duo took down No. 2 Fink/Niculescu of USC 8 0.
  • Siwy tears through the qualifying rounds of the ITA All American Championship going 3 0, to advance to the main draw.
  • Minutes ago, Siwy won his first round match over No. 3 Daniel Vallverdu of Miami in straight sets in the main draw of the ITA All American Championship, he will play his second round match later today.
  • Hopefully all those accomplishments foreshadow a special season ahead for both Bulldog tennis teams!