The Binghamton men’s tennis team showed signs of improvement amid a disappointing outing at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional held at Princeton. With 33 teams sending players, competition was abundant and tough. The Bearcats sent five players to compete, with freshman Dylan Friedman leading the way. Friedman played notably, taking down experienced sophomore Lutwin de Macar (Fordham) and freshman Nikita Larichev (Army) in his two qualifying matches. The 6-foot-6-inch freshman drew praise from his coach, who cited him as a bright spot in what was an otherwise difficult time for the team.
“It was the first time in a long time we had someone make it through the qualifying two rounds,” said BU head coach Nick Zieziula. “He won both of his matches in straight sets.”
Friedman lost his next matchup before defeating senior Christopher Morrow of Harvard in a consolation match.
Senior Ludovico Cestarollo and junior Kushaan Nath also claimed victories in the singles bracket, with wins over sophomore Noah Makarome (Penn) and senior Zac Castagna (NJIT), respectively. Cestarollo’s victory and eventual loss to sophomore Ryan Seggerman (Princeton) brought his overall record for the season to 4-1. However, sophomore Alejandro Pena and junior Tiago Lourenco found limited success.
Pena faced off against three singles opponents, defeated 6-3, 6-2 by sophomore Rogelio Gonzalez (La Salle) in his first-round qualifying match. He followed that defeat with a win over junior Lars Schouten (Marist), before falling to senior Mike Plutt (Bryant) in three sets.
Lourenco had a tough tournament, dropping all three of his singles matches. In his first-round qualifier, St. John’s freshman Charlie James beat him in two sets, each by a score of 6-3. Lourenco continued his rough patch with losses against Brown junior Peter Litsky and Dartmouth sophomore Casey Ross to close out the tournament.
The ITA Regional presented players with an opportunity to hone their skills in a competitive environment. While the results left Zieziula wanting, he had some positive takeaways from the performance.
“I think overall results-wise was a bit disappointing,” Zieziula said. “But I think we competed really well and I think they learned a lot from the weekend. Early in the year I’d take that from a development standpoint.”
While the Bearcats enjoyed victories in the singles bracket, they were less fortunate in doubles. In the round of 64, both BU duos were topped by the opposition. Lourenco and Nath fell 8-3 to Litsky and sophomore Ching Lam from Brown. Litsky seemed to have Lourenco’s number at the tournament, as Lourenco was also defeated by Litsky in the singles bracket.
While Friedman and Cestarollo claimed wins in the singles bracket, Drexel sophomore Sanil Jagtiani and senior Sinan Orhon kept them winless in doubles, defeating them 8-6.
“Our doubles play still leaves a lot to be desired,” Zieziula said. “We’ve focused a lot this semester on both serves and returns, but we have a long way to go with both of those cutting out mistakes.”
With additional tournaments coming up, the Bearcats will have opportunities to grow, especially young players such as Friedman. Facing up against varied competition can only serve to benefit the team as they look to continue getting better. With an invitational in only a couple of weeks, the Bearcats will look to build on their outing and seek to pick up a few more wins in the process.
“We’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Zieziula said.
The men’s tennis team will travel to Ohio next month to participate in the Cleveland State Invitational on Nov. 2 to 4.