Last weekend, the Binghamton men’s tennis team continued its fall schedule at the Dartmouth Invitational. The Bearcats faced opponents from Dartmouth, Yale, Brown and Amherst College.
With five freshmen in its lineup, Binghamton aims to place an emphasis on preseason tournaments like these. BU head coach Nick Zieziula believes it is important for players to see what the competition is going to be like on a Division I college level.
“It definitely helps to show the freshmen a frame of reference … that’s the level they play at,” Zieziula said.
The wins ultimately don’t mean much for the Bearcats, since team scoring isn’t tallied in the fall season. Zieziula is focused on the spring, when enough victories can get BU into the Mid-American Conference or NCAA tournament.
“The big thing we’ve been hammering home is we really haven’t talked about winning or losing, we’ve been trying to focus on one or two aspects of their game,” Zieziula said. “That’s where we’ve run into problems with both the freshmen and upperclassmen. We start getting worried about the score and we kind of get away from our goals and our game plan.”
One rookie who took advantage of the opportunity was freshman Kushaan Nath, who went 3-0 in his matches over the weekend to win the fourth singles flight.
Freshman Tiago Lourenco and his doubles partner, sophomore Ludovico Cestarollo, won the flight A doubles title. They went 4-0 en route to the title, sweeping teammates sophomore Valentin Bouchet and sophomore Josh Druger, 6-0, in the title match.
“We don’t have anyone who is in the national rankings, so our wins and losses don’t matter right now,” Zieziula said. “What matters is our wins in January and February. We can get there faster by just focusing on the process.”
With such a large freshman class, it will take time for the Bearcats to figure out who works best together on the doubles court. Fall tournaments allow BU to mix and match lineups and test performances outside of practice.
“We’re really trying to get everyone to play the same tactically so we have more interchangeable parts,” Zieziula said. “We want to get to the point where when we get into our season in the spring that we have some pairs that work together because you do build some chemistry and rhythm.”
The Bearcats are scheduled to play at the ITA Northeast Regional on Oct. 20, which is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. The tournament is set to begin at 8 a.m. from the Hecht Tennis Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.