Men’s Tennis Falls to 0-2 On the Young Season


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Men’s Tennis Falls to 0-2 On the Young Season

Noah Swan, Staff Writer

The Villanova men’s tennis team’s record fell to 0-2 following its loss to George Mason on Saturday. The Patriots won two doubles matches to secure the doubles point before winning five of six singles matchups to clinch a 6-1 victory at the Burke Racquet and Swim Club in Virginia.

The Wildcats picked up one point courtesy of a singles win from freshman Eitan Khromchenko. The Manalapan, New Jersey native faced tough competition from George Mason junior Erick Rivas. Khromchenko avoided a tiebreaker in the first, winning the first set 7-5. The two-time Shore Conference Champion cruised in the second set, controlling the remainder of the match en route to a 7-5, 6-0 victory. Khromchenko provided the one bright spot in his first ever match as a Wildcat.

Sophomore Alex Kim went down in straight sets in the number one singles match following his loss against Delaware last week. Kim will now look to recover his form from last year as he notched a solid 14-11 record in singles. Daniel Martinez and Daniel Cheng lost in two sets at the number two and number three positions, respectively. Justin Suarez and Anthony Prokurat rounded out the singles lineup, each losing by a score of 6-3 in their singles set.

Kim and Suarez lost the number one doubles match by a thin margin. The sophomore tandem lost 6-4 in their match against the George Mason duo Rithik Sardana and Ryan Charles. Martinez and Prokurat did not finish their number two doubles match but ended play down 4-5. Khromchenko teamed up with Cheng to take on the number three doubles team in a losing effort, winning three games in their loss. The Wildcats remain winless in doubles matches through their first two matchups of the young season.

Coach Brad Adams must be upset with the result, but he should also recognize the relative inexperience of his lineup. With only one senior in action, Adams chose two freshmen and two sophomores for the team’s second match of the season. Khromchenko’s singles success should be encouraging for the team as they get further into the season as Adams hopes to build confidence in the squad as the season progresses.

The team brought in five freshmen this season after seeing four seniors graduate last season. However, the impact of the departing seniors expands beyond the tennis court. Tyler Roth, Tommy Mulfur, Stefan Suarez and Dylan Flanagan maintained an “unmatched” dedication “to academics and performance on the court,” according to Adams after last season. Roth and Flanagan hailed from New Jersey, Mulfur from Oregon and Suarez from the Philippines. Despite the diverse backgrounds and distance from home, the four transformed into “true leaders” according to coach Adams, growing together as a team during their four years as Wildcats. Their absence will be felt for this year’s team as Villanova looks to recover from two early losses in the season. 

The pandemic has weighed heavily on all of Villanova athletics, and the men’s tennis team is no exception. 

Along with the chaotic weather of the past week, the season has been and will continue to be in flux. The ‘Cats were originally slated to meet Navy this past weekend before rescheduling to face George Mason. After having the remainder of their winter season and the entirety of the spring season cancelled, Villanova has returned to play under tumultuous conditions. 

With new testing protocols in place for players and a fluctuating schedule that can change at a moment’s notice, this season will prove difficult for the Wildcats men’s tennis team.

The Wildcats return to the court on Friday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. against Bucknell.