Anic leads USM over Samford

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 27, 2006

Southern Miss freshman Domegoj Anic arrived in Hattiesburg threedays before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf CoastAug. 29. To say the least, his first encounter with a hurricane wasmemorable.

Saturday’s gusting winds at Brookhill on Natchez didn’t phaseAnic as he defeated Samford (Ala.) University’s Renan Silveira 7-5,6-4 in No. 1 men’s doubles. Anic, a 6-foot-2 product of Zagreb,Croatia; helped his Golden Eagles to an 7-2 match victory over theBulldogs.

Hattiesburg didn’t escape Katrina’s wrath. Much of the city waswithout power for over a week. Anic and teammate, senior Marc Luxof Schwalbach, Germany, are roommates. Anic and Lux both grew up inGermany and attended Albert Enstein School in Scwalbach.

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“The university fed us and gave us water,” said Anic, recallingthe hurricane’ aftermath. “The university is good. We have goodcoaches and a good team.”

Anic said he is majoring in business administration. Hecelebrates his 21st birthday Friday, March 31.

“It was windy and tough to play,” said Anic, when asked aboutthe playing conditions. “I think I played pretty good. I won sometough points and I was a little lucky.

“I sliced the ball a lot in the wind,” Anic continued. “Then Ihit some high balls to get the speed out. I served OK.”

Anic started the season at No. 3 but after three matches movedup to No. 1 and No. 2.

Southern Miss won all 6 singles matches after Samford wondoubles 2-1.

Silveira, a sophomore from Pelotas, Brazil; praised Anic’sperformance. “He played really well. I had a chance in the firstset but I couldn’t close the game.

“(Anic) held serve in 40 break points,” Silveira continued. “Itried to ignore the wind and focus on tennis.”

Silveira said he was enjoying his education at Samford. “I loveSamford. It is a great environment for me. We are a closeteam.”

Southern Miss coach Teddy Viator saw his team raise their recordto 4-10 on the season. The Golden Eagles have lost five matches tonationally ranked teams. The Conference USA Tournament will be heldin Tulsa, April 20-23.

Reid Bourgeois is 1 of 2 seniors on USM’s 8-member squad. He wasa 6-0, 6-0 winner over Samford’s Bradley Weaver of Vestavia Hills,Ala., in No. 4 singles.

“We are a young team,” said Bourgeois. “We lost our bestplayer,” meaning No. 1 singles star David Canudas to graduation.”We have three freshman starting.”

Last Tuesday, the Golden Eagles defeated nationally-rankedSoutheastern Louisiana on USM’s courts.

“Anic is improving,” said Viator. “He has played mainly on clay.He’s getting better on hard court.”

Brookhaven High graduate Stuart Misner is a junior at Samford.Misner lost his No. 3 singles match to Lux, falling 6-1, 6-2.

“We had a pretty tough match,” said Misner. “My opponent was onfire today.”

Although Samford is on spring break, the Bulldogs have been busyplaying tennis. They dearly miss senior Manuel Miletic whosustained a season-ending knee injury in early March. He tore aminiscus ligament which required reconstructive surgery.

“Without Manuel, everyone has got to step up and get better,”said Samford coach Kemper Baker. “We have no excuses. We have towork hard and get better.”

Baker’s team stands at 7-5 on the season. Misner, undefeated inthe Ohio Valley Conference, was named OVC Player of the Week lastweek. Named to the OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll last season,Misner posted a 13-10 overall singles record and was 14-11 indoubles.

Yesterday, Misner and Hank Grant beat USM’s Tommy Maestri andAndrew Poole 8-6 in No. 2 doubles. Samford also won No. 1 doublesas Silveira and Weaver beat Anic and Bourgeois 8-5.

In No. 3 doubles, Southern’s Lux and Dylan Mezey defeated JamesBryce and Johnny Griffee 8-5.

Samford will play Alcorn State University today at 1 p.m. atBrookhill.