Teams from the Big 10 and the American Athletic Conference joined East Carolina University’s men’s tennis team as they all competed in the Wake Forest Invitational this past weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Big 10 representatives Duke, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and Indiana all played along side ECU, looking to knock off Wake Forest from its No. 1 ranking which it has held for most of the past year.
This tournament was flighted, therefore every player's name was put into a draw with players similar to their level to determine who played whom.
“We were able to pick up some good wins and had some tight losses, but we will certainly be able to learn from each situation that we were put in this weekend,” said assistant coach Ian Van Cott. "Each of our guys showed improvement in different areas each day, which was very encouraging to see. The guys were able to step up in tight situations.”
Austin Allen competed in singles with a record of 2-1 and in doubles with a record of 1-2, but also exemplified leadership qualities this weekend that will help the team in the future, according to Van Cott.
“This tournament turned into a great success because a lot of the things we have been working on in practice really started to click in the last few matches,” Allen said. “This gives me a lot of confidence, so I am looking forward to the success this will bring in the future.”
Coming back late this fall after having a major hip injury over the summer, player Ronny Georgi is still getting back into the game. He competed in singles with a record of 1-3 and in doubles with a record of 1-2. Georgi and his partner, Vlad Anghel, also had a close win over UNC in doubles (7-6).
“I had to take a lot of losses this time, but at least I played my best tennis again which is good,” Georgi said. “Especially in my last match, I made a nice comeback in the second set and stepped up my level for the last 30 minutes.”
This weekend was all about the Pirates playing their best competitive matches and giving themselves the best chance to succeed, according to Van Cott. This last tournament of the season has showed the Pirates what they need to work on over the next few months to get ready for the spring season.
"The guys will take a few days off here and we will continue to encourage them to keep their fitness level up over the break so that we can hit the ground running in the spring,” Van Cott said.
The fall season has come to a close for men’s tennis, but preparation for the spring has just begun. The practice dates, as well as the opening spring tournament, have yet to be announced.