Sports

Men’s tennis completes play at ITA Regionals

Men win only three matches in season finale.

The men’s tennis team wrapped up their fall season at the USTA/ITA Atlantic Regional Championship in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend.

 The Owls went 2-6 in singles matches and 1-3 in doubles matches for a total tournament record of 3-9. The tournament continues until Monday but Temple will not compete for the rest of the tournament.

 Temple kicked off the tournament on Thursday with a 1-3 record. The only matches played that day were singles qualification matches. The qualification bracket had 30 players, and any player who made it into the final eight qualified for the main draw.

 The Owls had three players in the qualification bracket: sophomore Hernan Vasconez, freshman Nicolas Paulus, and freshman Hicham Belkssir. None of the three made it to the main draw.

 Vasconez fell 6-3, 7-6 to Norfolk State freshman Samuel Lemberger. Head coach Steve Mauro said he was surprised that Vasconez lost.

 “Hernan did not play to his capabilities,” Mauro said. “He has been having a great fall season.”

 Belkssir was the only Owl who won a match on Thursday, defeating Morgan State senior Richard King 6-0, 6-2 in the first round. He lost in the second round to St. Joseph’s freshman Andres Urrea 6-3, 6-1. Mauro attributed the loss to a lack of energy.

 “There wasn’t a lot of time between the matches,” Mauro said.

 Paulus sustained a neck injury in his first round match, and eventually fell to Maryland-Baltimore County sophomore Kamal Patel 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Paulus was unable to play any more matches. Mauro said the injury should heal in about a week.

 On Friday, the main singles draw play began. The 96 man draw included senior Kacper Rams and sophomore Kristian Marquart.

 Rams had a bye in the first round, making Marquart the only Owl to play a singles match on Friday. He fell to James Madison’s Hugo Ramadier 7-6, 6-4. Mauro said that Ramadier is “a great player” and he was happy with Marquart’s performance.

“Kristian is having a great fall,” Mauro said.

 Doubles action also began on Friday. Rams and Marquart won their first round match, triumphing over Old Dominion’s freshman Zvonimir Podvinski and junior Dante Terenzio 8-6. According to Mauro, Rams had been having arm troubles over the past week.

 “He really battled to make it through the match,” Mauro said. “Kristian played very well, and we got the win.”

 Vasconez and Belkssir lost their first round match 8-6 to the James Madison’s Ramadier and senior Florent Sentenac. Paulus was originally scheduled to play with Vasconez, but Belkssir took Paulus’ place due to his neck injury. Temple finished 1-2 on Friday.

 By the time Saturday rolled around, Rams was the only Temple player left in the main singles draw and Rams and Marquart were the only Owls left in the doubles draw.

 Rams ended up withdrawing from his morning singles match against Longwood’s Dan Elston because of his right arm injury. However, the doubles match was scheduled for 5:30 PM, and by then he felt good enough to try and play. Rams and Marquart ended up losing 8-4 to Virginia Tech’s sophomore Hunter Koontz and senior Trpimir Kujundzic.

 “It was hard for him to play with his arm being the way it was,” Mauro said. “But he wanted to try.”

 Marquart, Belkssir, and Vasconez all played a consolation singles match on Saturday as well. According to Mauro, these matches will count towards the players’ individual records.

 Marquart defeated an opponent from Villanova in three sets. The score was not reported, but according to Mauro, Marquart won the third set tiebreaker 10-7.

 Belkssir lost to a Bucknell player. Mauro said that they split the first two matches, and Belkssir lost the third set tiebreaker 10-7.

 Vasconez fell to a player from UMBC 6-4, 6-4.

 “It was a very close match,” Mauro said. “I’m very happy with the way Hernan played.”

 The team will not compete again for over three months. Their next tournament is the VCU 4+1 Invite in Richmond, VA, from January 25 to 27, 2013.

 Evan Cross can be reached at evan.cross@temple.edu or on Twitter @EvanCross.

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