Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Cooper Creek Tennis Expansion

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Partnering with the Columbus Regional Tennis Association (CORTA) and the city of Columbus, Columbus State University helped break ground Monday, Nov. 9 for the new additions coming to the Cooper Creek Tennis Center.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, CSU President Chris Markwood and CORTA Expansion Project Chair Will White put shovels into the ground as part of the ceremony.

The expansion to the existing facilities will become the new home of the Columbus State men’s and women’s tennis programs.

“This has been a dream come true for me,” said tennis head coach Evan Isaacs. “Since I’ve been the coach here, I’ve wanted to upgrade the facilities. I feel like Columbus State and the City of Columbus deserve a first-rate tennis facility.”

Nearly seven acres of land has been cleared to make room for the new expansion. The expansion will include 12 new hard courts, nine clay courts and four “QuickStart” courts.

A new clubhouse will also be built, providing locker rooms for the two programs as well as coaches’ offices and new offices for CORTA.

“The new facility is going to help us attract future student-athletes that we hope will help us reach our ultimate goal of a national championship,” added Isaacs.

The current clearing of the area is expected to last through October, with an expected opening of August 2016.

The Columbus State tennis programs have made a combined 24 NCAA Tournament appearances during Issacs’ 14 years at the helm. The Cougars reached the second round in 2015, while the Lady Cougars made their fourth appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Tennis Groundbreaking



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Columbus State Tennis Earns ITA All-Academic Honors

SKILLMAN, N.J. – The Columbus State University men’s and women’s tennis teams both earned All-Academic honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

In addition, five student-athletes were tabbed as Scholar Athletes by the organization.

Maciej Kierkus and Martynas Zakaitis joined the trio of Beartriz Leon, Elena Preadca and Kirsa Utech on the Scholar Athlete list.

The individual honors are the first in each student-athletes’ careers.

On the women’s side, it is the third time in four years that the Lady Cougars have earned the honor and the sixth time under current head coach Evan Isaacs.

However, the men were honored by the organization for the first time since the team Academic Award was established.

Columbus State was one of only four Peach Belt Conference schools that had both its men’s and women’s teams honored by the ITA for their work in the classroom.


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CSU Tennis Teams Garner Impressive Regional/National Honors

Zoghlami_Malicbegovic_TennisSKILLMAN, NJ – While the season may be over, the Columbus State University men’s tennis team still made headlines as Oussama Zoghlami and Adi Malicbegovic were named Southeast Region Senior Player of the Year and Most Improved Senior Player of the Year, respectively. The awards were announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The ITA presented seven awards to representatives from the eight regions and one regional winner earned the seven national awards.

Playing as the Cougars’ exclusive top singles player, Oussama Zoghlami went 13-7 during his final season in Columbus. The Quebec, Canada product won eight matches in a row from February 11 through March 10, including three against opponents from programs ranked in the top 10. Zoghlami also went 17-5 in doubles play, teaming up with Martynas Zakaitis to beat a nationally-ranked foe from No. 10 Valdosta State on April 9.

One of CSU’s most consistent all-around players, Adi Malicbegovic drew national rankings in both singles (19th) and doubles (19th) play. The Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina import teamed up with Marco Almorin to go 13-9 as the Cougars’ only top doubles pair, winning four matches against nationally-ranked foes. Malicbegovic also went 17-3 singles matches, all as the number two, tying for the team lead in wins.

Columbus State finished the season 17-5, earning a No. 15 ranking in the latest national poll and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Leon_Isaacs_TennisAs the program prepares for the next round of the NCAA Tournament, the Columbus State University women’s tennis team earned regional and national recognition from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Beatriz Leon was named the ITA National and Southeast Region Player to Watch, while head coach Evan Isaacs earned Southeast Region Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year honors, announced by the organization. The ITA presented seven awards to representatives from the eight regions and one regional winner earned the seven national awards.

Following up an outstanding freshman season with an even better encore, sophomore Beatriz Leon beat out the other seven regional winners to become the top up-and-comer in Division II women’s tennis. The Zaragoza, Spain native earned national rankings as both a singles (12th) and doubles (14th) player, going a combined 32-5 across all matches. Leon posted a 15-2 record in singles play as the Lady Cougars’ exclusive number one, going 10-1 against Peach Belt foes and clinching CSU’s wins in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. With Giorgia Vitale and later Saravinder Pannu, Leon is 15-3 in doubles competition.

Now in his 14th season at the helm, Evan Isaacs has led the Lady Cougars to the national tournament every year. The Columbus State graduate has posted a 277-79 record as a head coach, including a 127-25 mark in conference play. Isaacs guided CSU to its fifth consecutive PBC Tournament finals and is in the NCAA Round of 16 for the seventh time (fourth consecutive). A trip to the quarterfinal round would be Isaacs’s second consecutive and fourth in a row, matching the farthest he has led the Lady Cougars through nationals.

No. 8 Columbus State will face No. 41 Northwood (Mich.) today in the NCAA Round of 16 in Surprise, Ariz. A win would send the Lady Cougars to the quarterfinals for a matchup against either No. 2 Barry (Fla.) or No. 10 New York Institute of Technology.



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Chapman Wins Gold at 2013 Deaflympics

SOFIA, Bulgaria — For the second consecutive summer, Columbus State University athletics has made noise on the international level. On Friday morning, CSU women’s tennis player Laura Chapman won a gold medal in women’s doubles at the 2013 Deaflympics. The games are being held in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

Chapman and her doubles partner Emily Hangstefer completed their journey this morning with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over second-seeded Chiu-Mei Ho and Hsiu-Hsiang Ho of Chinese Taipei. 

“I can’t explain how happy I am that Emily and I won this match,” said Chapman. “It honestly hasn’t really set in for us that we won a gold medal for our country.” 

It was the first gold medal for the United States in tennis since the 1997 Deaflympics games. Also, it marks the first time that the USA won the gold in women’s doubles since 1993 when Mary Reilly and Paige Stringer won the competition. Ironically, the ’93 games took place in Sofia. 

“This is a great day for CSU athletics and especially the women’s tennis program,” stated head coach Evan Isaacs. “Laura deserves this honor as much as anyone I know and I couldn’t be prouder of her. She puts in so much time on the court and she has made the whole Columbus community proud.” 

Along the way, Chapman and Hangstefer defeated the top-three seeds in the tournament not dropping a set. In fact in eight sets played, the American duo lost just two or more games in a set three times. 

Chapman also participated in the singles and mixed doubles competion in the games. In singles play, she won the opening round match before bowing out to the top-seed. In mixed doubles, Chapman and her partner Bradford Minns reached the quarterfinal round before dropping a match against the top-seeded duo. 

Chapman, a Columbus native, graduated from Hardaway High School in 2010. 

This is the second consecutive summer that a member of the Columbus State athletic family has won a gold medal in international competition as assistant rifle coach Jamie Gray won a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics. 

The Deaflympics was created in 1924 by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf.  

This season, Chapman helped the Columbus State University tennis team to a 22-4 record as the Lady Cougars reached the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 for the fifth time in program history.

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CSU Tennis Standout Paola Cigui Moves up to No. 1 National Ranking

SKILLMAN, N.J. — For the first time in Columbus State’s tennis program history, the number one player in the nation plays for the university.

Junior women’s tennis player Paola Cigui completed her ascension to the top of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II Poll as the organization released its final regular season rankings.

Since moving to second nationally on March 27, Cigui has done nothing but improve on her record-setting season. In nine matches, she has gone 7-0 with two unfinished contests. Despite being under the weather the day before becoming the No. 2 player in the country, Cigui bested then-No. 1 Annie Hwang, giving Hwang her first career loss.  Hwang finished the 2012 and 2011 seasons as the No. 1 ranked player in the country.

Only three times since 1996 has the top-ranked player in the country not played at BYU-Hawaii or Armstrong Atlantic State University.
This year, the Trieste, Italy native is 22-0, including six wins against nationally ranked foes. Cigui has lost just one set this entire year out of a possible 47.

In her career, Cigui is now 45-0 for the Lady Cougars.

For more on CSU’s athletics teams and players, visit

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