The tennis team opened its season with a 7-0 win against La Salle at the Student Pavilion Saturday.
The win against La Salle also marks the fifth consecutive year Temple beat its city rival. Since the 2011 season, the Owls have dropped just one match to the Explorers.
“We’ve always had a rivalry against La Salle,” coach Steve Mauro said. “It was great that the guys came out and played well and won their matches pretty easily. I was expecting to do well because the guys have been practicing well.”
With six seniors on the team and the addition of transfers Artem Kapschuk and Uladzimir Dorash , the Owls (1-0) believe their veteran lineup will give them the best chance at making a run toward the top of the American Athletic Conference. Last year, the Owls lost in the quarterfinals of Tthe American’s conference tournament.
“I think we can really get ranked this year,” senior Santiago Canete said. “It’s my senior year and we really want to do well. We’ve improved a lot. This is our best chemistry ever, and this year is our best chance to do well.”
In doubles play, Kapshuk and Dorash teamed up in first doubles to claim their first win, 8-2. Seniors Hicham Belkssir and Nicolas Paulus won at second doubles 8-2, and seniors Ondre Cargill and Maros Januvka picked up a third point at third doubles with an 8-0 victory.
In singles play, Canete posted a 6-0, 6-0 win to top the Explorers’ Brian Balico, facing only two break points all match.
“[Canete’s] been a pleasure to coach, and he’s improved every year,” Mauro said. “Last year he had the best year he’s ever had. He seems motivated to finish his senior year on a strong note.”
During the summer, Canete practiced his consistency on extended rallies in hopes to grind out wins against top players.
“I’ve relaxed a lot on the court,” Canete said. “I have been practicing with my other friends who play college tennis, and we were working on getting in rallies and going for more shots. We practiced hard and it will be good to find rhythm for the better teams this year.”
In other singles play, Belkssir won 6-1, 6-0 at second singles, while Paulus had the closest match with a 6-1, 6-4 win at third singles. Juniors Vineet Naran and Filip Stipcic won at fourth and fifth singles 6-0, 6-0.
Senior Ian Glessing picked up his first ever win as an Owl at sixth singles 6-0, 6-0. Cargill won his seventh singles match by default.
Mark McCormick can be reached at email@example.com.