How Syracuse fields a roster with 5 of 8 players from overseas

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 17, 2016 at 9:51 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco As Younes Limam walks up and down the courts, watching his team closely, he looks around and sees players from all over the world. Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Ukraine and the United States.The team, comprised of nearly all freshman — only three players returned from last year’s roster — has won all six of its meets this season. Barring any injuries or sickness, all but one of SU’s singles matches are played by these overseas players. Four of SU’s six doubles players are foreign.“We’re recruiting from all over,” the second-year head coach said. “Basically whoever shows interest and whoever is good enough to come in and compete at a very high level, we’re after them.”And Syracuse has been able to compete at a high level with foreign players. This year, the Orange has already defeated two ranked teams in No. 72 Tulane and No. 58 Columbia. Because of SU’s 6-0 start, the Orange’s best since 2009, the team recently found itself jumping from unranked to No. 62 in the nation.Despite being a diverse group, Syracuse has mixed together smoothly and gets another shot to beat a ranked opponent in No. 48 Boston College, the Orange’s first Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Drumlins Country Club.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLimam, a former assistant coach at Rice, was announced as SU’s head coach in June 2014. While he did handle some recruiting aspects at Rice, he now has the final say in recruitment matters at Syracuse. He has branched out globally, taking risks on professional players and seeing if they translate well.“(With) tennis being a global sport, having other very good players playing overseas, if we can attract those players, then why not?” Limam said.The Orange’s five international players have combined for a 22-5 record in singles play so far this year. Anna Shkudun is the No.1 doubles and singles player for the Orange and is currently a graduate student. While she is technically not a freshman, this is her first year of tennis in America.“I played professional for 10 years, and after, I decided to come to ‘Cuse,” said Shkudun, who played as an amateur in professional tournaments. “The coach texted me, and I saw a very good opportunity in my life to get a degree in America and practice with a good team and good coaches.”Shkudun is not the only one that was actively recruited from playing professionally. Limam and the previous Syracuse coaching staff all had a part in bringing over each and every overseas player — all of which were among the top at their age and country.Gabriela Knutson was recruited by former Syracuse head coach Luke Jensen. Libby Mesh, Hegab and Maria Tritou were all recruited from Israel, Egypt and Greece, respectively.“It just varies. Every situation is different,” Limam said. “We reach out to some players overseas, they reach out to us as well. We take it from there.” Commentslast_img read more

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