Men win, women lose as tennis teams face off against Columbus State

By William Watson
Staff Writer

The University of West Florida’s tennis teams matched up against Columbus State’s Cougars in Thursday’s doubles and singles matches at the Ralph “Skeeter” Carson Tennis Complex.

Samantha Echevarria using a backhand to volley the ball
back to the opposite team. Photo courtesy of www.uwfphoto.com

The top-ranked men’s tennis team played hard for a 5-0 win and are now 22-1 overall. The sixth-ranked UWF women’s team struggled and dropped the first match in a month, losing 5-2. They are now 19-6 overall.

The women’s doubles matches were close, as expected of two top-10 teams. The first point went to UWF when Diana Vlad and Valeria Mantilla won at No. 3 doubles. The Cougars tied with a 1-1 victory at the No. 2 position before getting a lead of 2-1 following a 9-8 tiebreak victory at the top spot.

For the men’s doubles, the first three points were scored by the Argonauts with a sweep. Alex Peyrot and Pedro Dumont – the nation’s No. 1 ranked doubles team – broke a close match with a pair of breaks in the eighth and 10th games on through to an 8-5 win. The 10th straight victory came to 17-2 in dual play. UWF collected wins at the No. 3 spot as Warren Kuhn and Pablo Tellez claimed an 8-3 win to start the scoring. An 8-5 victory ran the record to 14-0 by Gabriel Dias and Pedro Roese.

Gabriel Dias in the middle of a backhand as the ball comes
close, a hit assured for the Argonauts at this point in the game. Photo courtesy of www.uwfphoto.com

The Argos haven’t lost a No. 2 doubles match all season.

In the men’s singles matches, Kuhn was quick to punish Paul Sprengelmeijer, 6-1, 6-2 for the fourth point, before Serdar Bojadjiev, freshmen exercise science major, clinched the match with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Matei Avram at the No. 4 spot.

“I was feeling good. It was tough conditions, hot, but I was happy we managed to get it done,” said Bojadjiev.

Bruno Savi, assistant coach of the men’s tennis team, said, “We knew it was a close match. Since we played at home, we had to step up our game. I am very proud. We started strong in the doubles and got the job done in the singles.

“[The Conference] is something we’re going to face. We have one more match in the season. Then, we will move onto regionals or even nationals, hopefully,” Savi said.

Alex Peyrot performing a close-bodied forehand as the ball
gets too close for comfort. Photo courtesy of www.uwfphoto.com

For the women’s singles matches, the lone point for the Argonauts came in the No. 1 slot as 34th-ranked Paula Lopez defeated 29th-ranked Kirsa Utech, 6-3, 7-6. This was Lopez’s seventh-straight win, and her dual record was now 14-7.

Heather Mixon, sophomore mechanical engineering major, said, “I feel like we played against a really solid team. In the doubles, we had a lot of opportunities for points, but we were waiting for them to miss instead of taking the opportunity to strike.

“In singles, we tried our best,” Mixon said. “A lot of our players were struggling with sickness, but we didn’t let these physical ailments stop us from prevailing. We gave it our all. Next time we play them, we’ll know we can come through, because they were the better team today.”

Valeria Mantilla(not sure) catching the ball in the air,
knocking it back to the opposing team to continue the game with a
steady momentum. Photo courtesy of www.uwfphoto.com

Derrick Racine, head coach of both Argonaut teams, gave each team a pep talk after the doubles and singles matches. “Today was a good match for us,” he said. “They were ranked one spot ahead; it was a very tight match. We lost two of the three doubles, but we could’ve won. This team is not in our conference, but it’s a good preparation match for the Gulf South Conference match. Now, we’re hoping to win the team tournament this Thursday.”

UWF’s next matchup is at home at 10 a.m. Saturday against Xavier University of Louisiana. Next up is the Gulf South Conference April 20-22 in Montgomery, Alabama. The Argos will open the play as the No. 1 seed in each bracket.

For more information on all UWF’s sports and teams, visit GoArgos.com.