McPherson College’s men’s tennis team, which already was expected to be the top KCAC contender to longtime powerhouse Bethany College, has added reinforcements to make a run at the Swedes in the spring.
New coach Justin Stuckey has announced the addition of seven players for the upcoming season. He has combed the entire world to put together an incoming class that few teams may be able to rival.
Joining the Bulldogs are Ahmed Lahlou, Pedro Ribes, Pablo Garcia, Puneet Dave, Jose Carillio, Hugo Ball-Greene and Gabriel Franca.
"During the recruiting process we tried to find students we felt could do well at McPherson academically and athletically as well as being good all-around team players," first-year McPherson coach Justin Stuckey said. "I feel that all seven of the players we have coming in have the ability to contribute to our team right away in singles and or doubles.”
• Gabriel Franca — Franca is a native of Sao Paolo, Brazil. He has been playing tennis for the past 10 years.
"Gabriel is a player that we feel can play a strong level and will be a great teammate and can truly progress his level of play over time," Stuckey said. "Gabriel is a player and person that fits very well into the type of student-athlete we want to have in our program. We are very excited to have Gabriel here on campus and a part the Bulldog family over the next four years."
• Ahmed Lahlou — Lahlou is one of the top tennis players in all of Morocco and was a member of the African Junior Championship team. He won the Moroccan Junior Championships and currently has a Junior ITF world ranking of 1,700 and has been ranked as high as 947.
"Ahmed is a very talented tennis player and equally talented student in the classroom," Stuckey said. "We are very excited to have Ahmed as a member of the McPherson College community."
• Pedro Ribes — Ribes comes across the ocean from Spain and was ranked in the top 1,000 of the men's rankings.
"Pedro has the ability to impact our doubles and singles lineups and has shown that he is a hard worker and will try to improve his game every time he is on and off the court," Stuckey said. "Pedro's best tennis is very much still ahead of him and we are looking forward to seeing him compete for the next several years.
• Pablo Garcia — Garcia hails from Spain and has been ranked recently in the top 500 in the men's rankings.
"Pablo is a great student and tennis player," Stuckey said. "He has great weapons on the court that will allow him to influence our doubles and singles lineup. We can tell that he will be a great contributor to our program and are excited to have him for the next four years.”
• Puneet Dave — Dave comes all the way from Dubai. He is a transfer and will be a sophomore this year. He most recently started for NCAA Division-II Malone University. He was a starter in doubles and singles and owns a win over an All-Conference player from Findlay University.
"Puneet has the opportunity to impact our lineup in singles and doubles," Stuckey said. "We feel very confident that he will continue to grow and are looking forward to seeing the improvement for the next three years.”
• Jose Maria Carillio Rena — Another player from Spain, Rena is from Canary Island and was ranked in the top 1,000 for men's rankings.
"During the recruiting process, Jose showed that he is a team player and that he is very committed to working hard on and off the court,” Stuckey said. “Jose may not have a lot of high level results, but it is very apparent that he can play at a high level. We are excited to have him here at McPherson."
• Hugo Ball-Greene — Ball-Greene joins the Bulldogs from France and trained at the ISP Tennis Academy. He has a career best 4/6 rating and has proven wins over ranked players from France with ratings of 2/6 and 0.
"Hugo has the ability to be a big part of our doubles and singles lineups this year and has trained with some of the best tennis players in the entire country of France," Stuckey said. "He is an extremely strong student in the classroom. We can't wait to see Hugo's work ethic on the tennis court and excited that he will be a Bulldog."