Temple men’s tennis drops tight match to Cleveland State

Temple hopes to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008 by winning the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament or earning an at-large bid.

The Temple University men’s tennis duo pairs of sophomore Mark Wallner with senior Alberto Caceres-Casas and senior Uladzimir Dorash with junior Paolo Cucalon both bested their opponents by a 7-6 score.

That result allowed Temple (1-2) to jump out to an early 1-0 lead, but, the Owls would lose four of the following six singles matches in a 4-3 loss to Cleveland State University on Saturday at the Legacy Center.

Both doubles pairs have yet to lose a match, defeating Old Dominion University and South Carolina State earlier in the season. Their strong play secured Temple the doubles point in all three matches this season.

Coach Steve Mauro believes doubles play will be one of Temple’s strengths this season, and has adjusted practice to hone players’ skills accordingly.

“To prepare for doubles play, we also work on being able to return serves, because the ball is served hard and fast, and we need to be prepared for that,” Mauro said.

Wallner and junior Francisco Bohorquez secured Temple’s lone singles victories.

Wallner improved to 6-0 this season, winning three doubles matches and three singles matches on the year.

“[Wallner] has really improved since his freshman season,” Mauro said. “We have worked with him on playing closer to the net and being more aggressive, especially in doubles matches.”

Temple’s will travel to the University at Buffalo for its next match on Feb. 2. Buffalo defeated Harvard University in its only match of the season so far.

“We have played a couple matches, and now we’ve got some experience under our belt,” Mauro said. “We need to come together as a team, and cheer one another on, even when we take a tough loss. I’m confident that when we play well, we can hang with any team in the country.”

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