Men’s tennis loses to cross-town rival Villanova

Mauro upset with doubles play.

After losing 4-3 to area rival Villanova, coach Steve Mauro didn’t sugarcoat his feelings.

“It wasn’t a great performance today,” Mauro said. “Doubles was probably the worst that we’ve played all year. I was very disappointed about that. It’s disappointing to lost to our crosstown-rival. I thought we were a better team than how we played today.”

The Owls (5-10, 3-3 Atlantic 10 Conference) clinched a losing season, with only three regular season matches remaining. The Wildcats improved to 9-8 (1-0 Big East Conference).

In the top singles flight, sophomore Hernan Vasconez fell 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to junior Thomas O’Brien. Sophomore Kristian Marquart lost to freshman Chris Seitz in flight two 6-7 (4-10), 6-3, 6-1.

“I played a really good first set,” Marquart said. “Compliments to my opponent, he played really good, especially the second and third sets. I made some technical mistakes that I shouldn’t. I’m not very unsatisfied with my match.”

Freshman Santiago Canete won 7-5, 6-3 against junior Ryan Peyton in the third flight. In the fourth flight, freshman Nicolas Paulus was defeated by freshman Max Levine 7-5, 6-3.

Freshman Hicham Belkssir triumphed 6-4, 6-2 in flight five against sophomore Michael Rosengren. In flight six, freshman Sam Rundle won by default against sophomore Tim Abbracciamento. Abbracciamento won the first flight 6-7 (6-10), and then decided to forfeit the match since all the other matches had been completed.

“Hicham has definitely improved, the same with Santiago,” Mauro said. “It was a little bit of a setback for Nic today, he’s actually been playing real well. Hopefully, we can get it back together and get our next match.”

Vasconez and Belkssir fell 8-1 to O’Brien and sophomore Kelly Donaldson in top flight doubles. In the third flight, Canete and Paulus lost to Peyton and Seitz 8-3. Marquart and Rundle had been leading the second flight match against Levine and junior Matt Colonnese 4-3, but it was halted early due to the other two Temple teams losing.

“I don’t know what went on with doubles,” Marquart said. “Me and Sam played solid, but we didn’t finish.”

The match was played on an unusually hot day. The high temperature was 84 degrees, which ties the record for hottest April 9 on record, set first in 1991.

“Hicham is from Morocco, Santi’s from Spain,” Marquart said. “All the guys have good weather at home so they are used to it. I’m fine with it too. Of course, it’s hot, and I got tired at the end, but my opponent is also tired. It’s hot for both of us.”

“No, they should have just played better,” Mauro said when asked if the heat affected the team’s play. “We were ready, we’ve been practicing hard, and we should have just done a better job.”

The men’s tennis team is next in action against St. Joseph’s on Tuesday, April 16 at 3 p.m. at the Student Pavilion.

Evan Cross can be reached at or on Twitter @EvanCross.

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