Men’s tennis falters at ITA regionals

The men’s tennis team had a mediocre showing at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast regional tournament, held last Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29–30 at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.

On Saturday, four Tartans failed to make it out of the first round and only three made it to the second round. Only first-year Alex Nemerov and sophomore Jon Spero (a semifinalist last year) won two singles matches on the first day of the tournament to reach the round of 16. Nemerov partnered with junior Yiran Liu to reach the quarterfinals of the doubles.

“I have had a disappointing start to the season but I hope to have a great regionals and see how close I can get to nationals,” Nemerov said. “I believe that the team can be top 10 in the nation this year and easily make NCAAs. We still have a lot to work on as a team but I think we will be much stronger than they were last year. We know we have a great chance at getting a couple players into nationals but we have to continue playing great doubles like we have.”

On the second day of the tournament, Spero found himself to be a big underdog against the top-seeded John James of Mary Washington. Spero put up a spectacular fight, but lost 3–6, 6–4, 5–7.

Nemerov upset the fifth seed, Matt Nicholson of Swarthmore, 7–6 (2), 6–3 to advance to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, Nemerov ran into a brick wall in the form of second-seeded Johns Hopkins player David Maldow, losing 3–6, 2–6.

In the quarterfinals of the doubles draw, Nemerov and Liu lost a close match 6–8 to Randy Loden and Kaz Murata of Mary Washington.

“College tennis isn’t quite what I expected, but I’m not surprised by anything yet. I always expect myself to succeed, and try not to let myself fall short,” Nemerov said.
“We wanted every singles player and doubles team to have a strong showing. We are a very young team, but I am also asking our team to play with a high level of maturity and confidence,” head coach Andy Girard said. “Everyone left it all on the court. We had some great results as well as some close losses that easily could have gone our way. Our players all realize how close they all were to making a run deep into the tournament, which is definitely something positive we’re taking from the tournament.”

At the 2006 ITA regional tournament, the Tartans sent four singles players to the round of 16 with two advancing all the way to the semifinals. Then-first-years Nikola Ljujoba and James Muliawan won the doubles tournament, eventually taking seventh place at the ITA national tournament.

The men’s tennis team has completed its fall season, going 3–1. The team resumes play in the spring against Mercyhurst College Feb. 3.