Men’s Tennis Loses To Butler and Xavier


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Matthew Jones picked up a singles win against Xavier.

Noah Swan, Staff Writer

The Villanova men’s tennis team stuttered at the beginning of Big East play, dropping two matches this past weekend to Xavier and Butler, each by a 6-1 score.

Despite the persistence of some difficulties within the team, the Wildcats continue to exhibit signs of growth as they battle through a treacherous schedule. With such a young team, match experience will prove vital for the future success of the team.

Coach Brad Adams continued to mix the doubles lineup in search of an optimal combination. Following their successful outing against Lehigh, senior Matthew Jones and junior Justin Suarez played at the top of the lineup for the first time after having played at the #2 spot against Lehigh. The team has fewer than five matches under their belt together, so these matches helped to establish further consistency in the doubles lineup.

Sophomore Anthony Prokurat and freshman Trey Fourticq similarly jumped a spot in the doubles lineup to the #2 position although losing both their matches this weekend again. With at least two years left to play for the Wildcats, this could be a doubles team to watch moving forward as Adams looks for partnerships to anchor the team in the future.

Sophomore Noah Winton joining sophomore Josh Robinson at the #3 spot indicates the tumultuous lineup changing that has occurred throughout the season. Another team with fewer than five games of experience together, Winton and Robinson picked up a convincing 6-1 win against Xavier before dropping the match against Butler. The positive results from the newfound team continue to provide Adams with headaches when determining the doubles setup.

“They are very familiar with each other, they’re roommates,” Adams said of the sophomore tandem. “I think their energy against Xavier was excellent. Josh and Noah set a good atmosphere, a positive atmosphere during the doubles point that transferred over to the singles point.”

The singles lineup provided little outside a grim picture of the current squad. Robinson extended an unfortunate streak of three straight matches losing at the top of the lineup. Fortunately, the sophomore benefits from a youth that could help turn this tough stretch into increased resilience throughout the rest of the season.

Fourticq entered the weekend’s matches with high hopes following wins in both doubles and singles against Lehigh, but the youngest player in the lineup struggled against both #3 singles opponents in his journey to establish himself as a well-defined college player. Adams has emphasized his message to Fourticq as one of growth over immediate results during his first year as a Wildcat.

The two points for Villanova came courtesy of the two most successful singles players on the team this season. Senior Matthew Jones won his singles match against Butler, while sophomore Ryan Nguyen secured the first of his two matches at the #6 spot. Both players performed to team-best records during the fall exhibition season. However, neither had successfully recreated that form during the spring. Although both play further down in the lineup, each singles match win is vital for this Villanova team.

“Against Xavier, he performed very well,” Adams said of Nguyen. “He had a tough matchup against Butler. It came down to a lefty-righty matchup where the Butler player was slicing to Ryan’s forehand. Against Xavier, I was really happy with his competitiveness.” 

The Wildcats get little rest before their next match-up against St. John’s on Wednesday when they begin a five-match homestand. Following their matchup with the Red Storm, the ‘Cats will host Loyola Maryland this weekend. With such a young and developing team, Villanova will need to bounce back quickly to remain competitive.

“Every year I challenge the guys with the schedule,” Adams noted of the tough upcoming stretch. “It’s challenging the guys every time they are on the court. [I want] to get them physically and mentally ready to win three matches to win a conference championship.”

The Wildcats’ most immediate opponent, the Red Storm, may prove one of the most challenging opponents of the season thus far, having won eight of their last 10 matches, boasting an elite record of 54-16 in singles.