A Tough Test - Mace and Crown
Men’s Tennis Snag Close Win Over UTSA
Although the match took place inside, Saturday Feb. 22 was a perfect day to watch Old Dominion University Men’s Tennis (7-2). The Monarchs battled against a tough C-USA foe UTSA (3-5). The Roadrunners’ record is not indicative of how tough of a test they would be for the Monarchs.
The tennis Monarchs have started the season off red hot, being victorious against Howard (7-0), Richmond (5-2) and Norfolk State (6-1). The Monarchs out-dueled the Roadrunners 4-3 on Saturday afternoon at the Folkes-Stevens Indoor Tennis Center.
Monarchs head coach, Aljosa Piric, was satisfied with his team’s performance and their ability to pick it up after the slow start. “We started off slow in doubles, they got on top of us very quick and we weren’t ready to match it, especially in number twos and threes.”
The Monarchs lost the doubles point due to a slow start in each of the matches. Yannick Junger and Boburjon Kamiljanov of UTSA defeated Zvonimir Podvinski and Dante Terenzio 8-4. The Roadrunners also got a victory from Diogo Casa and Fabian Brand defeated Koen Wiggemans and Darragh Glavin 8-5.
The Monarchs were able to secure a win over the No. 16 duo in the nation by their best doubles tandem Carlos Lopez Villa and Jonas Kuwert.
“Four to three is always a good confidence builder when you can pull a close match out like that,” Piric said.
Doubles was the low point of the match for ODU but a rejuvenated intermission speech from Piric had the Monarchs ready to dominate the rest of the way.
Individually, the Monarchs throttled the Roadrunners in singles, winning 4-2. No. 44 Lopez-Villa and Podvinski have been stellar for the Monarchs this season.
Lopez-Villa was able to remain undefeated on the season by crushing Yannick Junger 6-2, 6-1 in a quick match.
“We started pretty slow in doubles and I knew that it was key to start strong in singles to get the momentum going” Lopez-Villa said, who has been impressive in all of his matches this season and has only given up one set.
The junior has continued to improve each week with one convincing victory after another.
“The key in my singles match was I returned really well and the guy [Junger] had a pretty good serve so I stood there and didn’t let him come back into the match,” Lopez-Villa said.
Podvinski, who came into the day at 7-1 on the season, fell to a tough opponent in Tomas Stillman 6-2, 6-0. Kuwert, Terenzio and Glavin also picked up singles wins for the Monarchs.
Morale remained high after the match as the team win was important to Podvinski but the Monarchs know they have to focus, as they will be hosting another tough opponent in George Washington in less than 24 hours.
“The win gives us a little more confidence going into the match tomorrow. We expect George Washington to be very good, they’re going to push us and they’re going to be at their very best,” Piric said.
The Colonials plan to invade, but by the end of this weekend’s matches, the Monarchs plan to hold on to their throne.
By Mitchell Brown