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Mr. Evghenii Corduneanu

208 General Gardner Ave. Apt 204
Lafayette, Louisiana 70501


Home Phone: 337-232-3554
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: evgheniic@gmail.com

Three players earn league honors

April 21, 2006 –
MOBILE, Ala. – Three of the reasons for the University of Louisiana’s top-50 national ranking earned all-league honors Thursday on the All-Sun Belt Conference men’s tennis team.
UL senior Evghenii Corduneanu and Cajun junior Amanjot Singh both made the six-man all-league team in singles announced Thursday night at a pre-tournament banquet prior to today’s kickoff of the league tennis championships hosted by South Alabama. Teammate Dusan Tabak joined Singh in being named as one of the all-league doubles teams.

Corduneanu, ranked 95th nationally in singles, went 13-5 mostly at the No. 1 spot during the 2006 season. Singh finished with a 12-7 singles record, and he and Tabak hold a No. 54 national ranking in doubles after going 5-1 this year.

UL, the number two seed in the men’s bracket, and top-seeded Middle Tennessee combined to take four of the six singles slots and two of the three doubles honors on the all-league team.
UL’s women’s squad, despite a 14-5 record, a number 71 national ranking and a number four seed in the league tournament, was shut out on the all-conference selections. Top singles player Tammy Day, who was 9-3 just after the mid-point of the season, was injured and did not play the final one-third of the season when the Cajuns played most of their matches against conference teams.

Originally published April 21, 2006

Cajun players included on 30-year Sun Belt team

February 04, 2006 – NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference announced its All-Time Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams to celebrate the league’s 30-year anniversary.
Alabama Birmingham’s Derek Tarr was chosen as the All-Time Men’s Coach, while South Alabama’s Scott Novak was selected as the conference’s All-Time Women’s Coach. USA’s Franticek Babej and Estelle Gevers were selected as the All-Time Men’s and Women’s Tennis Players, respectively

A 26-member media panel made the selections.

Cajun Men Named: Evghenii Corduneanu (2003-04), Jakob Ilowski (2000-03), John Phillips (1990-94), Ricardo Diniz (1996-98), Eduardo Gordilho (1998-00),
Stephen Parks (1994-96).

Cajun Women Named: Arina Urantani (1990-92), Vinca Rampen (2001-02), Silke Ladehoff (1993-94), Dessie Wilson (1993-95), Krystal Nabors (1990-94), Julie Mertins ((1995-98).

(AN Note: Congratulations to each of the Cajuns so honored by this special distinction).

Originally published February 4, 2006

Played all the main junior events including:Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open. Was ranked in juniors in top 50 in the world. Playing #1 and #2 in men’s tennis team. Personal goal is to play professional tennis after graduation.

Cajuns’ thinking bigger

January 22, 2006 – Bruce Brown

It’s hard to tell who was more excited when Evghenii Corduneanu got an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA.
Call it a dead heat between Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun tennis coach Justin McGrath and his prize senior.

For Corduneanu, it means a final semester in which to sharpen his game before plying his trade as a professional. For McGrath, it means a chance to field a special team this spring.

“We’re very fortunate to have Evghenii back for one last semester,” McGrath said. “Of course, he’ll be our leader. He’s so happy. He’s stoked to be back.”
“I was a partial qualifier when I got here and had to sit out for a year,” Corduneanu said. “I started in spring of 2002 and played three years. The NCAA rule was that I had to graduate in (last) December to get that fourth year back. I needed 36 hours, and that was impossible.

“But before the fall started the NCAA changed it to 80 percent (complete) instead of 100 percent. I took 18 hours last fall, and I’ll graduate in May.

“I’m kind of excited. I’d played five semesters, three years of tennis – actually 2 1/2. That’s not enough. My goal is to finish in the top 10 in the country, maybe higher, and make the NCAA Tournament, and that’s not going to come in the first two years.”

Corduneanu has been on his own since age 16, and hasn’t been home to see his parents since his arrival at UL. His focus remains locked in, both for himself and the Cajun program.

“I also want to help the team to get better,” Corduneanu said. “Everybody stays on our team from last year. With me we have a strong team, and we have a chance to finish in the Top 20, at least.”

“Our schedule is one of the toughest we’ve had, with 15 nationally-ranked teams, but we’ve got an exceptional team,” McGrath said. “I think we have a chance to have the kind of team Gary Albertine had here in 1988 – that kind of team – and maybe have the opportunity to go to the NCAA and make it to the sweet 16.

“The whole idea is to bring back the kind of tennis people saw with Jerry Simmons and Gary Albertine. The first couple of years here were difficult. We didn’t have full rosters and had to rebuild. But now I’ve got recruits calliing me.

“It’s a lot more fun, a lot easier.”

The Cajuns start their quest for a special campaign at 1 p.m. today against Southern University at Cajun Courts.

Originally published January 22, 2006

Athletes conquer cultural barriers

January 19, 2006 – Cajun tennis players overcome language obstacles to compete in the United States

Bruce Brown

Celine VanWeydeveld has Belgian roots, speaks French and Spanish, has lived in the Congo and traveled extensively, and is a senior studying modern language and anthropology at the University of Louisiana.
But when VanWeydeveld arrived at UL to play tennis for the Ragin’ Cajun women, she still faced a period of adjustment as she adapted to the language and culture of the area.

Freshman teammate Marine Neveu of La Rochelle, France, is only just beginning to see what VanWeydeveld went through when she arrived.

The picture wasn’t as daunting for junior Chanelle Meijer of South Africa – the language barrier was much smaller, for example – but she, too, experienced her own brand of culture shock as a UL student-athlete.
Cajun men’s players are not immune to the adjustments needed, but seniors Robin Ley of South Africa and Evghenii Corduneanu of Moldavia have embraced the experience and are eager to finish their Cajun careers on a high note.

It’s all part of the mix for a program that has one American man and one stateside woman on its rosters, and which is welcoming Katalin Gyulai to the coaching staff this year to guide the women.

“It’s a wonderful thing to be here and play college tennis,” Ley said. “Lafayette’s culture is so diverse, and it’s great to meet people and learn about them. Americans, and Cajuns in particular, are inquisitive. They love to meet people, have fun, share their music and share food.”

The outgoing Ley, a sports management major, remains open to new vistas on a daily basis.

“Today on campus,” he said, “I was getting a cold meat sandwich and a couple of girls saw that I had tennis shoes on and asked if I was on the tennis team. I said yes and said ‘I bet you can’t guess where I’m from.’ Then we sat down and shared a sandwich and talked.”

VanWeydeveld found a connection through her knowledge of the French language, although it is different from Cajun French.

“The older people like it,” VanWeydeveld said. “It’s kind of the same. Sometimes it’s the same words, but reversed. The grammar form is more simple. At one time French was a secret language here. Its use is decreasing, and that’s sad. I’ve learned so much about the culture.”

It wasn’t immediately that enjoyable, though.

“I knew French and Spanish, but had to learn English,” VanWeydeveld said. “For six months I couldn’t understand what was going on around me. I could read it and knew grammar, but I wasn’t good at speaking.

“It’s stressful, because you want to talk. You learn you just have to talk. Everything is mixed. It’s a different experience.”

Neveu can attest to that.

“My English was very bad,” Neveu said. “I knew just grammar. You have to follow in class. I knew some particular words, but couldn’t understand. The difference here is that you can speak with your teacher and get tutoring.”

All of them became quickly identifiable by their accents, which opened a few conversations.

“Once you talk with other students, they see that you’re normal and it’s not a problem,” Meijer said. “They learn I’m from South Africa and they want to know how it’s alike and how it’s different. It depends, person to person, how much they ask.”

“I had English courses in high school, but it’s nothing without practice,” Corduneanu said. “My understanding was very basic.”

“At first, it’s difficult for them,” coach Justin McGrath said. “You have to constantly sell them on the idea that they’re at a good place. And an education gives them something to fall back on besides tennis. Maybe five (college) players in the whole country make it on the pro tour.

“I recruit players who are looking to play pro. Evghenii was a Top 100 junior in the world, but he realized the importance of (getting) a degree. He’ll graduate this semester. He’s really had to work on his studies.”

“The players don’t have the skeleton (of language),” Gyulai said. “They don’t live in the culture. It’s a different world.

“I’m fluent in Romanian and advanced in Spanish. I’m able to pick up the nuances. The English I learned in Europe was British English, with the emphasis on grammar. Americans use different words and in different context.

“One word can change the meaning. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say what you say.”

“Wherever you go,” Ley said, “there are going to be slang phrases and colloquialisms. For an international student, it’s important to maintain your own language, but at the same time you want to learn.

“It’s fascinating to be observant, and to be invited in. It’s such a huge privilege that they open themselves up.”

“I’ve learned the language and met different people, and that helps open your mind,” VanWeydeveld said. “I didn’t know this country or how people think.”

Still, a voice from home can help, no matter how far away.

“There’s a seven-hour time difference between here and home,” Neveu said. “I speak with my mother, or she e-mails me every day. But my father is coaching in Africa and my brother is in Germany. It’s very difficult to stay in touch with them.

“You become close with your teammates. (Shreveport’s) Kimmie Lyles is like second family to me. She’s very present in my life.”

“Your social life is structured around your team first,” said Meijer, a 3.9 student in accounting. “They understand. They know what you’re going through. There’s also the international students’ office, and you meet others there. Then you have classes, and have to go places, go to meetings.

“In the beginning it’s difficult. I still try to speak to my parents every day, if possible.”

“International students can’t just pick up the phone,” Ley said. “That’s why our nuclear (team) circle is so important. We learn from each other.”

“The holidays are hard,” said Corduneanu, who hasn’t been home in four years. “Most students can drive, go home and relax. Moldavia is 18 hours away, and flights are expensive. I always stick around.

“I’ve been out on my own since I was 16, playing junior tournaments. It’s always hard, but I’m already adjusted to it. I have very good discipline. I manage things very well. I’m prepared for the real world.”

That’s what college is about, no matter where that experience takes place.

Opening weekend

MEN: The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun men’s tennis team will open the 2006 spring season at home, hosting the Southern Jaguars in a 1 p.m. match Sunday at Cajun Courts.

UL was originally slated to host Lamar on Saturday for the opener, but the Cardinals have a scheduling conflict and will need to be worked in later in the season.

Alcorn State will visit Cajun Courts for a 2 p.m. match next Tuesday.

WOMEN: The Cajun women, who like the men began practice on Wednesday, visit the LSU Tigers in a 1 p.m. match Saturday. They then will turn their attention to the Feb. 1 home opener against Southeastern Louisiana.

Originally published January 19, 2006


April 21, 2005 – Grant Alexander, Sports Information –

Third Straight Year Cajuns have All-Sun Belt Honoree

LAFAYETTE – Newcomer Dusan Tabak and senior Evghenii Corduneanu were named
to the All-Sun Belt team Thursday at a pre-tournament banquet at the 2005
Aeropostale Sun Belt Conference Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships.

Tabak finished the spring by winning his final 10 matches and completing the
season with a 12-3 record. Earlier in the season, Tabak knocked off the 60th
ranked player in William and Mary’s Jeff Kader. Tabak went undefeated
against Sun Belt Conference opponents on the year. Currently Tabak is ranked
116th in the country.

Although he lacked the national ranking this year, this is Corduneanu’s
second straight year on the All-Sun Belt team. Corduneanu finished with a 9-
6 spring record and went 3-2 against Sun Belt opponents.

The duo became the first pair of Cajuns to be named to the All-SBC team
since 1999 when Rafael Fontes and Eduardo Gordiho were selected. That year
the Cajuns fell to South Alabama in the SBC championship match.

The Cajuns begin their quest for the SBC championship Friday at 12:30 p.m.
when they take on New Orleans.

Originally published April 21, 2005