The Columbus State men's tennis team has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament each of the past two seasons.
Marco Almorin is hoping to change that in his final season with the Cougars.
"I know the senior year is a special time, and I want to give 100 percent in by last year. Your final year should be a good experience and that is what I want for my team," Almorin said.
The 13th-ranked Cougars open the season on Saturday against Georgia Southwestern at the Mary Blackmon Tennis Center.
Almorin, whose hometown is Zaragoza, Spain, went 12-8 in singles last year. He also had an impressive fall.
"Marco had a great fall, beating Division I players from Georgia Tech and Mississippi State in Athens, and he had a good tournament at Georgia College as well," CSU coach Evan Isaacs said. "Both he and Jorge (Vargas) played well this fall."
Almorin, who is one of only two seniors on the team, is ranked 12th in the Southeast and 48th nationally.
Isaacs said he is leaning toward Almorin playing No., 1 singles when the season starts.
Vargas, a sophomore, is No. 10 in the Southeast and No. 43 in the nation. Senior Benedikt Wilde is ranked No. 15 in the Southeast.
Almorin, who got his secondary education at I.E.S. Andalan in Zaragoza, came to Columbus State for tennis and to get an education.
"In Europe, there are two choices, go professional or go to school but here in America, you can do both," Almorin said. "I plan to go back to Spain after I get by BA degree in finance and work in the financial sector. Being able to speak English and Spanish is a plus."
Isaacs expects Almorin to be a success as well.
"He works hard in practice and is playing with a lot of confidence. He is also a good student and has a 3.3 GPA in his major," Isaac said.
Notes: Almorin and Adi Malicbegovic were named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Doubles Team last season. It was the second straight year for the pair, who went 15-9 last season as CSU's No. 1 doubles team. The CSU men have advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament for eight straight seasons. This will be CSU's final season playing at Blackmon. The teams will move to their new home at Cooper Creek Tennis Center for the 2017 season.