Strong performances at regionals bring hope for season

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 at 6:18 PM

The Edinboro men’s and women’s tennis teams both posted impressive performances at their respective Intercollegiate Tennis Association Atlantic Regional tournaments. 

The women competed firstat their regional championships on Sept. 15-17. Laura Lopez and Tatiana Batalla-Trabal made it to the semifinal round of doubles before they fell to Charleston. They beat Bluefield and Mercyhurst before their streak was ended. 

Lopez won her first singles match against a Mercyhurst opponent, then losing her second match to Fairmount State. ‘Boro competitors Jelena Vucenovic, Payton Tomasko and Mary-Kay Masiker lost their first round of singles. 

Tomasko won her first match in the consolation bracket but then lost the next. Tomasko and Vucenovic lost their first round of doubles. 

“It was definitely a good tournament because I believe — I mean I’ll have to look at the record books — that’s the farthest Edinboro women have ever gone in the ITA Regional for at least doubles, [as] we made it to the semifinals,” Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Kody Duncan said. “We had a great chance to make it to the finals, slipped up on a few games which cost us, but it was actually one of the most successful tournaments the women have ever played.” 

The ITA Regional was the first event for women’s tennis this season. Their first scheduled event was canceled due to the team only having five women. The women are in the process of trying to get someone who responded to their tryout call to be eligible. 

The men competed Sept. 21-23 at their regional event. Julius Schulte won his first singles match and then lost his second to a West Virginia Wesleyan oppenent. Schulte and Kevin Mboko won their opening doubles match before losing their second to a team from Mercyhurst. 

Mboko, Mateus Santos and Mauricio Santos lost their first rounds of singles and the Santos team lost their first round of doubles. 

“The men performed very well in doubles, finishing points at the net and serving well during crucial points,” Duncan said. “Singles was a bit of a struggle. We were not consistent enough to win long points and were very impatient.”

“We went against the strongest opponents in the region and it shows what we have to go up against in the spring,” Duncan said of the overall level of competition at the tournaments.

Duncan has high expectations for the men as he looks forward to the rest of the season.

“My expectations will always be to win our conference,” he said. He also said he hopes to help the women “gradually develop and improve while staying competitive.”

Both the men and women will compete at the PSAC Singles and Doubles Championships Sunday and Monday.

“I think we could be successful in both [the men’s and women’s competitions]. I’m bringing Tatiana and Laura there for the women and I have four guys coming for the men,” Duncan said of the upcoming tournament. “I think with this new format, with the no [advantage points] and the no lets, it really balances the competition out and it’s just anybody’s tournament this year. I think we can repeat on the men’s side and I also think we can go really far on the women’s side.”

Erica Burkholder can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: sports, tennis

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