Men’s tennis continues solid fall campaign

Ian Robertson

Staff Writer

The team may not begin official competition until mid-February, but men’s tennis is wasting no time preparing for the upcoming season. Led by the talented sophomore duo of Artem Khrap- ko ‘18 and Shamuel Chaudry ‘18, both of whom were named to the A-10 All-Conference Team this past spring, the team has high aspirations. To say that they will be competitive this year in the A-10 this year would be a glaring understate- ment.

Given their level of talent and experience, the Wildcats are on the brink of another break- through year, with the team viewing an A-10 championship as a reasonable, rather than dis- tant, goal. But confidence in one’s potential for success is only half the battle. Coach Drew Bar- rett has stressed the importance of taking prac- tice seriously and competing well in fall tourna- ments, using this crucial time to build upon the foundation of hard work and preparation that could propel the team to success in the spring.

Davidson had its first opportunity to prove itself this past weekend, hosting an invitational with USC-Upstate, UNC-Charlotte, and former Southern Conference rival Appalachian State. Although Davidson had been hoping to christen the newly constructed 12-court outdoor complex by hosting the invitational, all matches were held inside the Knobloch Tennis Center this past Sat- urday and Sunday due to inclement weather.

In their first day of competition, the ‘Cats competed solely against UNC-Charlotte, re- cording four singles wins and a pair of doubles wins against the 49ers. Davidson continued to showcase its plethora of young talent, with soph- omores Khrapko and David Hager ‘18 recording singles wins in addition to those from Jordan Hart ‘17 and J.B. Gough ‘17. Hart’s comeback vic- tory after dropping the first set 2-6, and Khrapko’s victory at No. 1 singles, were highlights of what was a laudable effort by the ‘Cats against tough competition. In doubles, the duos of Hager and Zack Zapatero ‘17 and Gough and Jack Riazzi ‘18 also earned victories.

On the tournament’s second day, the ‘Cats ex- perienced a similar level of success against Appa- lachian State. David Hager finished off the week- end with a second singles victory, while Chaudry, Riazzi, and Alex Howard ‘16 also earned victo- ries. Ricky Saad ‘17 also earned a victory in a

hard-fought match, persevering through a first set loss of 3-6 to win the final two sets in 6-4, 6-3. Eli Abernethy ‘19, a walk-on, followed in sim- ilar fashion, cruising to an impressive 6-3, 6-1 victory, performing well in his first ever college match. When asked about how it felt playing in his first match as a Wildcat, Abernethy acknowl- edged, “It definitely can’t be compared to any high school match I’ve ever played in. There’s a consistently higher energy and intensity at this level that far surpasses what I’ve ever experienced before.” He also added, “there’s definitely more

pressure too. Regardless, it was exciting to finally get out there and see what I could do.”

Hoping to build off the success of this past weekend’s tournament, Men’s Tennis looks to continue its focused and demanding push toward an A-10 title by gaining more experience this fall season. With the team still figuring out its lineup, and with so much subject to change, the ‘Cats are as motivated as ever to continue competing in high level tournaments. Men’s Tennis will next be competing in the USTA regional championship in Cary, N.C. from October 16-18.

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