Men’s tennis sweeps weekend matches, now 4-0 in PSAC play

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 6:13 PM
Men’s tennis sweeps weekend matches, now 4-0 in PSAC play by Chris Rosato Jr.
Photo: Christopher Rosato Jr.

The Edinboro men’s tennis team picked up two more PSAC wins with home victories against Bloomsburg University and Kutztown University on Friday and Saturday at the Westwood Racquet Club in Erie. They are now 4-0 in PSAC play.

On Friday, the men defeated Bloomsburg 7-2 after losing just one match each in the doubles and singles categories. The loss was Bloomsburg’s first PSAC matchup, leaving them 0-1 to begin conference play. Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Kody Duncan said Bloomsburg’s 2-4 overall record entering the match didn’t mean they would be easy competition.

“[In] PSAC matches it doesn’t matter because we’re such a familiar opponent that everyone is competitive with each other no matter what the team is,” he said.

The team of Vitor Albanese and Mateus Santos defeated Bloomsburg’s Lucas Pedrotti and Nagid Walle 8-2 at No. 1 doubles, while Daniel Fernandez and Kevin Mboko served up an 8-3 defeat to Bernardo Abreu and Rafael Rufato at No. 2 doubles. With the two doubles matches finished, both teams made their way to the third court to watch the conclusion of the match between EU’s Mauricio Santos and Christian Roettger and Bloomsburg’s Guillermo Carranza and Robin Luetzig.

Santos and Roettger had fallen behind early in the contest and couldn’t quite fight their way back as they dropped the match 8-4 to complete doubles play.

The Fighting Scots saw similar success in singles play, earning another five wins. 

Albanese swept his first set before taking the second set 6-3 against Pedrotti to start the team’s singles wins. 

Mateus Santos’ win against Carranza at No. 4 singles was a bit more interesting. After Santos took the first set 6-2, Carranza fought back and forced the second set to go to a tiebreaker, but Santos eventually came away with the win, ending the set 7-6 (4).

Both Roettger and Mboko split their first two singles sets to force a third, but only Mboko was able to provide Edinboro with another win. 

Duncan said he was happy to see the team’s singles play improve from earlier in the season.

“We’re a doubles team. I expect us to win at least two out of three every time, but in singles we definitely stepped it up,” Duncan said. “If we can build our confidence, set up our shots [and] put away points when we need to put away points, I think it will fare well for us in the future.”

On Saturday, the Fighting Scots swept doubles play on the way to a 7-2 victory against Kutztown.

Albanese and Mateus Santos dominated at the top doubles spot against Kutztown’s Nikolay Kodinov and Gabriel Nogara Souza, earning an 8-0 victory. The pair’s win was followed by wins from the No. 2 doubles team of Fernandez and Mboko, 8-4, and the third team of Mauricio Santos and Roettger, 8-5.

Albanese continued his dominant play in singles as he defeated Kutztown’s Martin Munoz 6-1, 6-0. With his four wins over the weekend, he was named the PSAC Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week on Monday.

Mauricio Santos and Fernandez finished their matches next. Santos handled Joan Oliver Perez 6-2, 6-0 at No. 4 singles while Fernandez put away Kodinov 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles.

Duncan said Fernandez and Albanese have been critical to the team’s success this season, and that they are peaking at the right time as Edinboro faces tougher opponents and moves into postseason play.

“They’re not just captains, they’re leaders on the court,” he said. “So when other teammates see them doing well and performing on the court, it carries the other players. They really carry this team. They’re the backbone of this team, to be honest.”

Mateus Santos retired during the second set after losing the first set, but Mboko defeated Souza 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6 singles to give Edinboro their final win of the night. In a high-scoring affair, Roettger dropped the final singles match to Josh Carl 7-6 (6), 7-5.

The two wins all but guarantee a PSAC playoff berth for the Fighting Scots. Their 4-0 conference record will likely be good enough to qualify, but the other teams in the conference have not played as many PSAC matches, so their fate will be decided in the coming weeks. 

“Winning those two and securing a spot in the PSAC championships is definitely something I’m very happy about,” Duncan said. “I believe we secured at least the No. 2 spot going into the PSAC tournament now that we’re 4-0.”

Edinboro started their season by going 6-1, including two PSAC wins against West Chester University and Millersville University, but struggled during their spring break trip in Wilson, North Carolina, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, losing all five of their matches.

“We had a meeting down there [in North Carolina], we talked about it. We said, ‘You know what, when we get back we’ve got to regroup, refocus and get back on the court and go back to our winning ways,’” Duncan said of the spring trip. “That’s what we did this weekend and we hope to also do it again this upcoming weekend against West Virginia Wesleyan.”

They will look to improve on their 8-6 overall record when they host West Virginia Wesleyan University in Edinboro on Saturday at 4 p.m. in their first outdoor home match of the season.

Chris Rosato Jr. can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com. 

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