The Spartans’ men’s tennis team started off the year with a busy weekend of invitationals showing off this year’s talent. Although the team finished the weekend with more losses than victories, the new group of young players looks to be promising.
The group started off at the Greater Cincinnati Invitational and played 21 singles matches and 10 doubles matches against a variety of schools. Fourth-year student Josh Dughi won the first match of the year for the Spartans. This was followed by first-year student Siddharth Rajupet winning his match. Six other Spartans took their singles matches, showing off their talents and skill.
The doubles matches also went well. Dughi and second-year student Rob Stroup took their match against Duquesne University’s Dane Bendel and Andrew Ong. The duo also took on Wright State University’s Javier Alvarez de la villa Garcia and Fernando Nardelli and came out victorious, winning two of their three doubles matches to start the year.
At the same time, during the Oberlin College Invitational, first-year student Sam Concannon was able to pull off a victory against Oberlin’s Ian Paik even after a close loss in the first set. The team had an impressive 12-20 record in singles matches throughout the day, against Division I competition. During the same invitational, the team won six of 15 doubles matches.
The team’s weekend helped to show the capabilities of their players. Todd Wojtkowski is entering his ninth season as head coach of this program, and this past weekend helped him finally see how his team does in real competition, not just practice. Invitationals are very foundational, whether they are full of victories, losses or a lot of both. In this sort of weekend, the results are less important than the skills and abilities shown by the players that let the coaches prepare for the season ahead.
Although the real season does not begin until next semester, the matches played during fall invitationals and tournaments are going to determine a lot about the matchups that will be played come this spring.
To the players new to the team, this early experience is extremely beneficial: It shows them how the game is played at this new level of varsity sports in the NCAA. And for return players, it is a great time for them to gauge their improvements from the past summer and learn what they can work on improving before the record starts being counted.
Keep up with this team as they continue in their invitationals this semester, watching as they grow and figure out more about the year ahead. The Spartans are looking forward to a year of tennis for this squad, and these early glimpses are helpful for speculating about next semester.