Men’s Tennis Goes 0-2 On The Weekend


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Justin Suarez (above) stepped into the No. 3 doubles team with teammate Alex Kim, losing, 7-5, in a tight match.

Noah Swan, Staff Writer

The Villanova men’s tennis team finished a tough weekend with two losses to Delaware on Friday then Monmouth on Sunday, both by a score of 7-0.

One major caveat for the weekend arrived mere minutes before match play began against Delaware with the removal of sophomore Eitan Khromchenko from the lineup due to injury. Khromchenko opened the season with a doubles win at the #2 position with freshman Trey Fourticq, and head coach Brad Adams intended to play him third in the singles lineup.

“Eitan Khromchenko was injured for the whole weekend,” Adams noted of the situation. “We had to totally reconfigure our lineup 15 minutes before our match with Delaware. It was actually Fourticq and [sophomore Anthony] Prokurat at #2 [doubles].”

Fourticq and Khromchenko presented Adams with the team’s only doubles win during the team’s season opener against Jefferson, and their absences contributed to doubles struggles in both matches this weekend. Against Delaware, Fourticq and Prokurat battled in a 5-7 loss, but the other teams were less successful. Junior Alex Kim, filling in for Prokurat in the #3 team, joined sophomore Ryan Nguyen in a 6-2 loss, while senior Matthew Jones and sophomore Josh Robinson lost in a similar fashion, 6-1.

Success in doubles has been a major point of focus for Adams and his team throughout the offseason, and some of the improvement began to shine through in the match against Monmouth. Despite losing the doubles point, the Wildcats lost, 7-5, in two of the three matches as junior Justin Suarez replaced Nguyen in the #3 team, nearly securing a narrow victory with Kim before dropping the last few games.

“Against Monmouth, I was extremely happy about how everyone played,” Adams said. “Unfortunately, we lost the doubles point to a very good team that will probably go on to make the NCAA Tournament. Considering these guys had not had much time together, they actually performed very well.”

With Khromchenko out, the narrow margins of victory speak to the effort of the team. The one area that requires improvement is the performance of the top doubles team of Jones and Robinson as the duo found immense success last season, and they will need to rediscover that form to lead this Villanova team to greater consistency.

The singles scores are similarly disheartening, yet the recognized youth of the team combined with injury replacements means the match experience is valuable, nonetheless. Suarez entered the lineup at the #3 singles position in place of Khromchenko, and his performance inspired confidence in the junior as a potential regular starter for future matches.

“It’s not necessarily a guy at #6 [singles], it’s a guy who’s been in and out of our lineup for the last couple of years in Justin Suarez,” Adams said. “He has the ability to play high in the lineup, it’s more of whether he can be consistent. He played a very good match against Delaware.”

Robinson, at the top of the lineup, failed to win any sets in his two matches, but for the sophomore, the experience against the highest level of competition will prove crucial in future matches. This is Robinson’s first season as the top player, and he still needs to find his footing at the new position.

“I think Josh played a very, very tight match yesterday where he came off the court saying he could play with these guys,” Adams said of the Monmouth performance. “Even with the loss, he kept his head up. It’s just a matter of securing the big points and being a bit tighter as far as not giving up loose points.”

Just below Robinson, Fourticq could not back up his opening match victory with similar results. The freshman found tougher opponents in his second and third ever competitive matches. As the youngest player in the lineup, Fourticq must still adjust to the college team setting, a noted change from the individual nature of junior tennis.

“Trey just needs to find himself,” Adams recounted. “It’s a very tough ask for a freshman to play that high in the lineup. He had a great fall, beat some quality players and now he’s getting some confidence. It’s a different game coming from an individual sport all through juniors.”

The Wildcats must recover quickly with two matches this coming weekend, against Fairleigh Dickinson and Navy. The former is coming off two straight wins and has a roster boasting more experience than the Wildcats. Navy has already won seven of its 10 matches this season and will provide a steep challenge to Villanova.