The Binghamton men’s tennis team traveled west to Kalamazoo, Michigan to compete at the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Indoor Championship over the weekend. The Bearcats were looking to continue their strong play after putting forth a solid outing at the Cleveland State Invitational the previous weekend, and they succeeded, winning nine singles matches and four doubles matches.
A pair of the singles victories came from freshman Dan Pergel. He lost his first match before going on to win a nail-biter against Toledo freshman Krzysztof Wetoszka 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 and then defeating Ball State freshman Eli Herran 6-4, 6-7, 10-7. Binghamton head coach Nick Zieziula was happy with Pergel’s performance as he looks to develop his game in the early stages of his collegiate-playing career.
“The big thing we were trying to get all of our guys to do was to learn about ourselves, our games this weekend,” Zieziula said. “I thought he did a great job with that. Coming out of the weekend, we both have a better idea of what we need to be working on in practice to continue to improve his game. The results were good to see, but more importantly, we took some big strides developmentally with his game and where we need to be going.”
BU senior Sebastian Quiros also picked up two singles victories over the weekend. Initially, he struggled in his first match and ultimately dropped it, but he was able to bounce back and easily defeat Ball State freshman Abe Wojtalik 6-1, 6-1 and Buffalo freshman D Giritharan 6-2, 6-3.
“A couple of unfortunate things happened very early in his first match and [Quiros] didn’t respond to those great,” Zieziula said. “He did a much better job in his next two matches with being able to push aside those distractions and really lock in and bring his focus back up. In the past, he’s struggled a little bit where once the weekend kind of took a wrong turn, it was hard for him to get back on track. To see him deal with the distractions and come back and finish strong was really positive.”
In doubles, the Bearcats were able to win a number of opening matches, but all would go on to lose to teams from Buffalo, Toledo and Western Michigan. A notable performance came from Binghamton freshman Michael Pawlowicz and senior Tiago Lourenco, who were able to take down a Buffalo team of junior Valdemar Holm and senior Vilhelm Fridell 8-4. As the Binghamton doubles teams are still developing, Zieziula was experimenting with pairing different guys to play at the MAC Indoor Championship.
“Our doubles has a lot of room for growth,” Zieziula said. “The very first match with Pawlowicz and Lourenco against the team from Buffalo, we kind of controlled the match start to finish. That was great to see. We’ve been moving people around trying to find some sparks in doubles. I think that’s definitely a team we may come back to in the spring.”
With the conclusion of the MAC Indoor Championship, the Bearcats have ended their fall season. The team experienced a number of ups and downs throughout — matches didn’t always go as planned in both singles and doubles. Nonetheless, the motivation that the team has, with a number of freshmen joining the team this season, is unwavering. The team is looking to go headstrong into its offseason to prepare for the spring semester.
“We’ve learned a lot as a group this year,” Zieziula said. “The guys came together and fought really hard. The motivation internally is really high. I think the guys were looking at their matches in the right way of knowing that their big focus was not on the result but on improving from shot to shot, game to game. The group has overall a clear understanding of where we need to be improving between now until our matches start in January, which is really good to see.”
Binghamton’s spring season begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19 with a match against Brown in Providence, Rhode Island.