Going Gets Rough For Bulls at ITA Regionals
The University at Buffalo men's tennis team sent a record five players to the ITA Northeast Regional Championships at Cornell University in Ithaca over the weekend but only ended up with two victories in eight matches.
Freshmen Showing the Way
Of the Bulls' two victories at the ITA meet, both were scored by freshman netters. In the qualifying round, Ivan Vereschaga defeated St. Bonaventure's Luis Guevera in the first round, 6-2, 6-2, as 32 players competed for eight slots in the main draw. However, Vereschaga was denied a spot in the main draw as he dropped his second match of the day, a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Fairfield's Ian Tesmond and was eliminated from the tournament. After earning a first-round bye and a seed in the singles draw, freshman Damien David won regional tournament debut with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Yale's Zach Krumholz in the round of 64. David was eliminated in the third round by fifth-seeded Vasko Mladenov of St. John's, 6-3, 6-4. Mladenov, a junior transfer from the University of Texas, ranked No. 833 in the ATP men's rankings and won the A flight title at the Princeton/Farnsworth Classic earlier this season. David reached the championship match in the B flight at the Princeton tournament.
On the Wrong End in the Third Set
UB's other singles main draw entrants, Vusa Hove and Wojciech Starakiewicz were eliminated in their opening matches with both players falling in the crucial third set. On Friday, Hove was upended in a three-set match to Harvard's Sean Chaudhuri in the opening round of 128. The scores were 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. On Saturday, Starakiewicz was defeated by Cameron Ghorbani of Dartmouth in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6. Starakiewicz was able to force a third set by winning the second set after fighting off a pair of match points earlier in the set. Starakiewicz, who has made the regional field all three seasons with the Bulls, earned a first-round bye and a seeding in this year's tournament.
A Nickell's Worth
Following UB's elimination from the regional tournament, head coach Lee Nickell summed up the weekend. "We have made it our goal to be a dominant team in the region and we found out this weekend we have a long way to go," said Nickell. "We are going back to the drawing board to work on closing out leads and will be ready for our last tournament at Cornell."
Another Trip to Ithaca
The Bulls return to Ithaca for the Cornell Invitational November 4-6. The tournament was pushed back a week from the original dates of October 28-30. At last season's tournament, Wojciech Starakiewicz won the A-1 singles title finishing with a 4-0 record at the tournament as he defeated Cornell's Max Haskin, 6-2, 6-4, in the championship final. Vusa Hove won the third-place match in the A-2 singles flight.