Freshmen shine at ITA Regionals in Sumter, S.C.
With the end of their Fall seasons approaching, the men’s and women’s tennis teams travelled to Sumter, S.C., last weekend to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regionals.
Friday was a busy day for the men’s tennis team, which had six out of seven players fighting for a top spot in the regionals. Senior Wictor Andersson showed off his skill, beating a Francis Marion University player in a close match 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Andersson continued to dominate, defeating a player from North Georgia College & State University 6-4, 6-2, and moving on to play Saturday.
Junior Alex Schubert shared a similar fate, crushing a North Georgia player 6-2, 6-1. He, too, moved on to play the next day.
Senior Johan Wadstein was not so lucky. Having to rally against a nationally ranked player from Armstrong, he was defeated 6-0, 6-0. Senior Tyler Franks, freshman Alex Nolley and freshman Kenneth Cazort lost hard-fought battles as well with scores of 6-2, 6-2; 6-4, 6-0; and 6-2, 6-4, respectively.
Despite the losses during the first day, graduate-assistant coach Carlos Marques still thought the team was prepared for the weekend.
“I think the regionals tournament is very competitive because we have so many good teams and players from probably the best in the country,” Marques said. “We did what we thought was necessary to get ready. We were prepared enough for the regionals.”
Saturday would see one of the highlights of the weekend with freshman Taylor Powell playing his first singles match of his college career. He crushed the Flagler College competition 6-1, 6-2. He then went on to triumph over King College 6-1, 6-4.
Even though he was playing against a handful of upperclassmen all weekend, Powell was not unnerved by it, saying it was “just another day at the office.”
The rest of the team still in play, Andersson, Schubert and Cazort, would not be so lucky, losing all of their singles matches for the day. Wadstein was able to pull out an 8-5 win playing doubles with Franks against Columbus State University.
Sunday was a good day for freshmen Powell and Cazort. Playing for the Flight ‘B’ Doubles Championship, the two were matched up against Mount Olive College, winning a close battle 9-8. The deciding match against King College was an easy win for the duo. They secured the ‘B’ Flight Doubles Championship title with a score of 8-3.
“Winning doubles with Kenneth, that point, that was exciting,” Powell said. “That was the highlight. We played good during the last match.”
Wadstein and Franks were also still in the run with doubles, competing for the Flight ‘A’ Doubles Championship. They triumphed over Lander University 8-3, but fell to Columbus State 9-8.
Powell had a busy day, having to play both singles and doubles. Although he did well on Saturday, he was defeated by his Limestone College opponent 6-4, 6-2.
“In singles, I wish I could have been more consistent with my play,” Powell said. “In the semis I was very up and down – playing good here, playing bad there. I couldn’t find a rhythm.”
With only three players, the women’s tennis team saw only wins on Friday. Competing for the ‘A’ Flight division, senior Kayla Barksdale and junior Ivana Marevic shut out both of their opponents. Barksdale played Anderson University, coming through with a win of 7-6, 6-2. Marevic started slow against Converse College, but eventually pulled through with a strong win, 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.
Playing her first weekend as a Bobcat, freshman Katie Krupp dominated with a score of 6-3, 6-4 in her singles match against Landers University, despite a few nerves.
“I was kind of nervous because it was my first tournament and big match in college,” Krupp said. “Physically, (I was prepared). Mentally, I was a little psyched out.”
Barksdale and Krupp also competed in a doubles match, but fell to Francis Marion University 8-3.
Day two for the women’s team mimicked the men’s day two play. Krupp, like Powell, crushed her opponents, the first game being 6-0, 6-2, and the second game being 2-6, 6-0, 6-2. Both games were against Limestone College. She would be moving on to compete for the ‘B’ Flight semifinals the following day.
Barksdale and Marevic did not share a similar fate. Barksdale was defeated by a Columbus State player 6-2, 6-0, and Marevic lost against UNC Pembroke 6-3, 6-3.
Like Powell, Krupp was defeated during the semifinals on Sunday. She was beat by a Flagler College opponent 6-0, 6-3. Despite this loss, she stated that she was still proud of herself for making it so far.
Marques was also proud of all of the players, especially the freshmen.
“The highlight is the freshmen, Taylor and Kenneth Cazort, winning the ‘B’ Flight Doubles Championship,” Marques said. “Katie won a couple matches. It’s good to start well, especially if it’s your first year.”
The men’s team is officially done for the season, but the women will see one more day of play at the Georgia College Fall Championships on Oct. 5.