Despite early exits, Mauro pleased with performance

None of the Owls’ participants advanced past the second round of the ITA Regional Championships on Friday.

It Owls faced a long day in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Tournament on Friday.

On a day with many matches played, and not many including Temple men’s tennis representatives, coach Steve Mauro said the heavy slate of matches was tough on his group.

“It was a long day of matches,” Mauro said. “Because of the high level competition I think we just ran out of gas.”

All in all, Mauro felt that even though they exited the main draws of the tournament early, some solid tennis was played by his players.

“I think that a lot of tennis was played today, but in the end I feel that we saw some good tennis played,” Mauro said.

In the main draw for singles, Blake Daniel of Navy defeated the Owls’ Nicolas Paulus, 6-3, 6-0, and George Cartledge of Virginia Tech defeated the Owls’ Santiago Canete 6-1, 6-0.

In doubles action, the duo of Nicolas Paulus and Hicham Belkssir lost to the Penn State duo of Roman Trkulja and Aws Laaribi, 8-6. Santiago Canete and Filip Stipcic defeated the Bucknell pairing of Daniel Wright and Octavio Canibe, 8-6, but then fell to George Washington’s doubles duo of Danil Zelenkov and Cahit Kapukrian 8-4 in the next round.

The last Owls’ doubles combination of senior Hernan Vasconez and sophomore Vineet Naran started the day by defeating the Villanova duo of Tim Abbracciamento and William Elmore, 8-7(6), but then lost in the Round of 32 Duquesne University’s Rich Robbie and Corey Robinson 8-3.

Despite early losses from all of his players, he felt that the close match with the strong Penn State team was important.

“I was really happy with the way that the doubles team of Nicolas Paulus and Hicham Belkssir played against the top doubles team from Penn State,” Mauro said. “It was a very close match and it could of gone either way, but a could of double faults got to us … but a lot of praise from the Penn State opponents on how [Hicham and Nicolas] played … I am really happy with how they played their tennis match.”

After competing so well against a top opponent, Mauro feels like his players can compete with anyone.

“I believe that the players can compete with the best teams in the country,” Mauro said. “That showed today with the close match against the number one doubles team from Penn State, who last year ranked 25th in the country.”

Mauro believes that this will help the team in the future, leading into its regular season in January.

“We are heading in the right direction and the team has an optimistic outlook on the upcoming parts of the season,” Mauro said.

Mauro believes that playing against strong competition shows them what they need to work on before the regular season begins.

“We know what we need to do to get to the next level,” Mauro said. “This is only preseason for us, these warm ups will be beneficial come early January when the season starts.”

Dalton Balthaser can be reached at or on twitter @DaltonBalthaser.

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