Roland Back on the Court After Taking Year Off

Jae Yoo

Andy Roland, Glendale Community College’s premier tennis ace from two seasons ago, is up and ready to lead the courts once again.

After being red-shirted last spring in order to save a year of playing eligibility, Roland, of Hollywood High, has decided to use up his second year this season.

Taking a year off collegiate competition would scare away many athletes, but Roland seems to take it in stride.

“I’ve practiced quite often, playing tournaments almost every weekend,” said the sophomore. “So my goal this year is to be ranked number one in the state.”

Roland, who lost only two times in his collegiate career, has racked up nearly 35 wins, a Western State Conference title, All-American Honors and No. 4 ranking in the State of California in 1999.

The entire Vaquero squad has now become an instant top-ten contender in the state and is the likely conference favorite, in large part because of Roland, who is both top singles and doubles player for the school.

After finishing second last year behind Pierce College in the WSC with a 12-5 overall, 9-3 conference record, the Vaqueros will be the team to beat in the conference, Roland said.

“Andy’s made it to the final four in the state two years ago as our No. 2 player,” said Coach Bob Donaghy. “He’s ninth in the state right now.”

A late bloomer, having started playing the sport at 10, Roland has developed a solid serve-and-volley game with the help of his longtime personal coach Eric Hatcher. But he also dominates from the backcourt, modeling himself after all-court players Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, his favorite touring pros.

At just over 6 feet and 184 pounds, Roland is the son of a former quarterback from Southern Methodist University. He attributes much of his athleticism to his father, but says his mother is the athlete in the family.

Roland, a Geology major, plans to transfer to Texas A & M, which is actively recruiting him. His younger sister, also a student-athlete, plays No. 1 singles and doubles for A & M, a division-one school.

“We missed Roland last year, but what counts is that he’s back this year,” said Donaghy. “He brings to us a 10 percent improvement to the team in and of himself.”