The men’s tennis team will look to build off its fall season debut when it returns to play this Saturday at the Penn Invitational at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I think we can shock some people in this next upcoming tournament,” junior Ondre Cargill said.
Cargill expects his team to do well because he said the Owls have 11 solid players who are all competitive and looking to win.
Cargill also said he is looking to be more consistent in this invitational and knows what he has to do in order for him to be successful.
“I need to work hard, do a lot of fitness and conditioning, just play my best and hopefully things go well,” he said.
Cargill and his teammates are not the only ones who believe they can do well at the tournament. Coach Steve Mauro feels the team is ready for some tough competition.
“My expectations early on are that we compete,” Mauro said. “Hopefully the guys can step up and do well.”
Mauro added that there are going to be teams like Penn, Wisconsin, St. Johns and Princeton that will bring strong competition to each match in the tournament.
Mauro said Temple will play against St. John’s in the first round of the invitational. St. John’s won the Big East title last year for the first time in 23 years.
After the opening match, the Owls will face the host team of the tournament in Penn.
Many of the players are returners, but the team is still a young team. Mauro said he saw some development from each of his athletes in the offseason, and that this tournament will pose good competition for them.
Many players, like Cargill, will look to build on their fall season debut, but some new and inexperienced players will also have the chance to prove they belong in a starting spot next weekend.
“I think we will be mixing the lineup a little bit,” Mauro said. “We are going to try out some different double matchups as well.”
Mauro said the team has at least three freshmen and a few players who never had the chance to play last year. Tournaments like the Penn Invitational can be a good proving ground for players who are looking to make it in a starting spot.
The Owls play in the Penn Invitational every season. Mauro said he likes that the tournament is early in the season and located close to Temple.
“It is always hard when you travel some place, sleep in another bed, then play in a strange environment,” said Mauro.
Mauro and his team most recently traveled down to Annapolis, Maryland for the Navy Invitational in the fall season opener in early September.
Temple defeated St. Bonaventure by winning all four doubles matches and seven of its eight single matches on the opening day. On the final day of the invitational, the Owls tied Navy.
Mauro said he was very happy with his team and that it has laid down a good foundation, but this is just the beginning.
“This is just the start, we need to get at a higher level if we want to compete in our conference because it is one of the top conferences in the country,” Mauro said.
Last season at the Penn Invitational, Mauro said the Owls won most of their matches.
The Invitational will begin Friday, Sept. 26 and will stretch till Sunday, Sept. 28. The tournament play will last most of the day.
Connor Northrup can be reached at email@example.com.