Freshman Atas makes Ohio State history on court



May 06, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Ohio State freshman Joey Atas doesn't plan on joining the new wave of collegiate tennis baseliners anytime soon.

"I like quick points," said the 6-foot-1 Atas, who began making his mark on the tennis court four years ago at Calvert Hall.

Atas is having far too much success as a big serve-and-volleyer, using his power game to become the first Buckeye named the Big Ten Conference's Freshman of the Year.

He was also one of 13 selected to the 2004 All-Big Ten team, compiling a 25-8 overall singles record while playing mostly at the No. 2 position.

"I never expected this as a freshman," Atas said. "I knew I could accomplish these things some time, but not this soon."

Atas said he has made up for inexperience by "concentrating hard" on every point in every match.

Atas also has been impressive in No. 1 doubles, teaming with senior Jeremy Wurtzman for a 24-5 overall record - 12-1 against Big Ten opponents.

Atas and Wurtzman are ranked No. 32 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, having upset No. 2 Illinois' nationally ranked team of Brian Wilson and Phil Stolt.

The Atas-Wurtzman team is expected to receive an invitation to the NCAA tournament this week.

Atas prepared somewhat for the step up to the major college level with two years of nonstop tournament competition, which he chose over playing as a junior and senior at Calvert Hall. He captured Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association singles titles as a freshman and sophomore.

Atas counts an indoor match as his most significant victory of the year. He swept past No. 27 Matthew Lockin of visiting Vanderbilt, 6-1, 6-3.

"Everything was working for me in that match," Atas said. "And to have my family and girlfriend there was special."

However, don't mistake Atas for a wide-eyed freshman.

He has a plan for making it big some day.

"I want to win the NCAA singles title and then I want to play on the pro tour," he said. "I know it will take tons of hard work."

Martin rolls on

Elizabeth Martin (Bryn Mawr) has been a driving force behind Amherst College's march to the No. 3 ranking in Division III women's lacrosse.

The reigning D-III Midfielder of the Year and senior tri-captain is the second leading scorer for the defending national champions (14-2) with 52 goals and 23 assists. Martin also has a team-leading 31 draw controls.

She has 219 points in three seasons for the Jeffs, after racking up 85 goals and 19 assists as a freshman at Goucher College. Martin has 171 goals for Amherst, 13 from the school career record.

Also contributing to the success of the Jeffs has been sophomore attack Scotty Hanley (Hereford), who has 11 goals, eight assists and 12 draw controls.

Et cetera

Sophomore Kelley Tiesi (Catholic) continues to pile up strikeouts (team-record 273 in 170 1/3 innings) and victories (25-1 record, 0.21 ERA) for Shippensburg University. Tiesi was chosen the Most Valuable Player at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference tournament last weekend, leading the Lady Raiders to a second consecutive championship with three straight victories (two one-hit shutouts and an 8-1 win).

Freshman soccer midfielder/defender Shannon Seipp (John Carroll) was awarded Rookie of the Year and Co-Defensive MVP honors for James Madison (7-10-3). She started all games.

University of Pennsylvania junior Dusty Lieb (Spalding) finished second with a time of 14:17.79 in the men's collegiate 5,000-meter run at the Penn Relays, qualifying for the IC4A championships later this month.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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