Men’s tennis has a difficult exit in the opening tournament of the season

Tennis player runs down the field.
Men’s Tennis came out of the Southern Intercollegiate Championship with 11 wins out of a possible 28 (Andrew Kerner | Daily Trojan File Photo)

Men’s tennis kicked off its season at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens, Georgia this past weekend. Facing the University of Virginia, the University of Texas and the University of Georgia, USC came away with just 11 wins in 28 total singles and doubles matches over the weekend.

The Trojans had high hopes for this tournament, with Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 1 singles player and current SIC winner Stefan Dostanic leading the charge. In addition to sporting the defending champion, USC looked strong, having won more than half of their total games in this same tournament a year ago. The Trojans and their six top 100 singles players and two top 100 doubles teams looked set to duplicate that success; however, it did not go as well as expected.

USC kicked off the weekend by taking on the Cavaliers, with seven singles players playing and three doubles teams. It didn’t take long for the No. 1 ranking Dostanic to be dethroned as he lost his first match of the day in singles and then later lost in doubles to sophomore Wojtek Marek. Donstanic’s usual tag team partner, graduate student Bradley Frye, managed to win his match against Virginia and earn a positive result in a lackluster USC performance on day one.

Day two against the Longhorns showed more positive results for the Trojans, as most matches lasted three full sets. However, Texas still had the advantage in the majority. Dostanic took his first tournament win on Saturday by defeating number 16 ranked Micah Braswell in a match Dostanic struggled in after losing the first set. USC also showed more fighting in the tag team matches of the day, taking two of the three tag team matches.

The third day against the Bulldogs was quite disappointing for the Trojans as they only managed one singles victory on the day, but managed to once again win two out of three doubles matches. It would take all the way to game three, however, for USC’s tag team Dostanic and Frye to get their first win of the year. They took down fifth-year Georgia doubles team Trent Bryde and rookie Ethan Quinn with a score of 8-6. This was only the duo’s second official game of the year, but there are still high hopes for the rest of the season.

“Stefan and I had a really good year last year… Daily Trojan Horse.” Obviously, [Saturday] We didn’t have such a good match…but today we managed to feel pretty healthy and that turned out to be good, and obviously we’re super comfortable playing with each other, so it was fun playing with him and being there again.”

While USC’s SIC performance has fallen short of last year, this being the first tournament of the year, the Trojans and head coach Brett Masi are looking to use this as a springboard for competitions moving forward through the rest of the year.

“That’s the first thing, just getting more stable and consistent work, and I also hope that we can continue to get some individual stuff and maybe use some of this week’s videos to help us grow,” coach Masi said.

Like many others, Frye and the team have high expectations for themselves this season and know that there is always a target on their backs due to USC’s status. However, he and the team hope to come back stronger and better than ever the next time they hit the court.

“Really at the end of the day, I think it’s not going to be so much about the other team, but really about our team,” Frye said. “As long as we prepare well, train well, train well, when the season comes around I think we are ready to go and we can give our best in every match.”

The Trojans have some time off from the competition, as the next time they hit the court will be October 1-9 in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the ITA Men’s All-American Championships.

Leave a Comment