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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Isaacs Earns Top Honor, Three Cougars Honored at PBC Men’s Tennis Banquet

Florence, S.C. – After leading the Columbus State University men’s tennis program to its first ever Peach Belt Conference regular season championship, head coach Evan Isaacs was named the PBC Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year on Wednesday night at the annual PBC tennis award banquet. Three Cougar players also earned honors at the event hosted in Florence S.C., the site of the 2014 PBC Championships.

Oussama Zoghlami was named to the All-PBC first team for singles while Marco Almorin earned honors as a singles player on the All-PBC second team. Almorin also earned an award as a doubles player as he and his doubles partner, Adi Malicbegovic, were voted on the All-PBC second team.

In his 13th year at the helm of the Cougars, Isaacs has turned CSU into a perennial national power. Taking over a program that won just five matches in 2002, Isaacs took the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament in just his third year. In 2008, Isaacs and the Cougars began their current streak of six consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, a streak that is almost certain to be extended to seven later this year.

Isaacs took Columbus State to back-to-back NCAA Tournament semifinals matches in 2010 and 2011 while guiding the Cougars to a program best 23 wins in 2012.

This year, Isaacs has the Cougars ranked 14th in the nation and handed Armstrong Atlantic State University its first PBC loss since 2009. The Cougars are also the first seed in the PBC Tournament for the first time in school history.

Isaacs becomes just the second CSU tennis coach to be named the PBC Coach of the Year joining Mike “Skeeter” Smith who won the award in 1996. It is also the first time since 2009 that Armstrong’s head coach Simon Earnshaw has not earned the honor.

Zoghlami earns his first All-PBC award after an outstanding junior season. Beginning the year as the number two singles player, Zoghlami dominated going 10-1 with his only loss coming in a 7-6, 7-6 decision. The junior was eventually moved up to the top position where he continued to flourish. So far at first singles, he is 6-4 including a victory over 25th-ranked Jaan Kononov of Armstrong. Two of his four losses have come against opponents ranked inside the top-25, including the top-ranked player in the nation, while another defeat came at the hands of Division I Troy.

Currently, Zoghlami is 16-5 and ranked 31st in the nation.

Almorin was named to the All-PBC second team for singles after an 11-10 regular season campaign. The sophomore began the year at the number one spot going 4-6 but has played well at the second position posting a 6-4 mark. He is currently ranked 16th in the Southeast Region.

As a doubles pair, Almorin and Malicbegovic have been in rhythm the entire season. Playing all 20 matches at the top position, the duo is 14-6 including going 8-2 in conference play. The pair is currently ranked 10th in the nation and collected a big win against the fifth-ranked team of Pablo Gor and Kononov in the Armstrong match.

Columbus State will begin the PBC Tournament on Thursday, April 17 taking on eighth-seeded and 35th-ranked North Georgia at 11:00 a.m. The Cougars defeated the Nighthawks 7-2 earlier this season.

The PBC All-Conference team is listed below as selected by the league’s head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.

2014 PBC Men’s Tennis All-Conference Team

First Team Singles
Yannick Hass, Georgia College
Jaan Kononov, Armstrong
Jose Martinez, Flagler
Pedro Scocuglia, Armstrong
Vincent Verpeaux, Lander
Oussama Zoghlami, Columbus State

Second Team Singles
Marco Almorin, Columbus State
Richard Ashforth, Francis Marion
Mateus Camasmie, North Georgia
Ettore Damiani, USC Aiken
Pablo Gor, Armstrong
Adam Jonsson, Lander

First Team Doubles
Victor Guimaraes & Victor Cabellos, Georgia Regents
Adam Jonsson & Oscar Axelsson, Lander
Jaan Kononov & Pablo Gor, Armstrong

Second Team Doubles
Marco Almorin & Adi Malicbegovic, Columbus State
Yannik Hass & Alex Schubert, Georgia College
Pat Stiebinger & Alejandro Andino, USC Aiken

Player of the Year
Pedro Scocuglia, Armstrong

Freshman of the Year
Richard Ashforth, Francis Marion

Coach of the Year
Evan Isaacs, Columbus State

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