Men’s Tennis Falls to Marquette, 4-3


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Matthew Jones (above) picked up a singles win on Friday.

Noah Swan, Staff Writer

The Villanova men’s tennis team came up one point short against Marquette, losing in a 4-3 decision before seeing its second scheduled match against Duquesne rained out. For a team in need of wins, the result stings, yet provides points of encouragement as the team nears the postseason.

The Wildcats (3-12) entered the weekend coming off one of the biggest wins of the season the previous weekend against Loyola Maryland. Picking up the doubles point to begin, the Wildcats went on to drop only one match in a stabilizing and crucial performance last Saturday.

The match this weekend started on a sour note with the initial doubles point going to Marquette (6-14). Head coach Brad Adams opted for the same doubles partnerships during this match as he did against Loyola, a sign of consistency amid a fluid lineup plagued by injury and youth. The newfound partnership of senior Matthew Jones and junior Justin Suarez struggled to win a game at the #1 position. Within the context of Villanova’s doubles competency, the two have exceeded expectations as a team formed midway through the season.

The younger duo of sophomore Anthony Prokurat and freshman Trey Fourticq slotted in at the #2 spot but failed to win their match against Marquette. The two have now logged 15 matches as a partnership, and despite the loss, they deserve notice as a strong doubles contender looking ahead. Sophomores Josh Robinson and Noah Winton found their match at the #3 spot cut short although they held a strong 5-3 score before moving to singles.

“It took a long time, probably a little too much time to find the right matchups as far as the personalities,” Adams said of the doubles lineup. “I think all the doubles teams currently mesh really well together and balance each other out.”

Down a point entering the singles, Villanova clawed back three points before ultimately falling short against the Big East competitor. The two most prolific singles players Jones and sophomore Ryan Nguyen picked up wins at the #4 and #6 places, respectively. Nguyen picked up his third win in his last four singles matches, becoming one of the most consistent players in the singles lineup. For the sophomore, it has been all about his newfound court presence.

“Ryan is just playing at an extremely high level right now,” Adams said of his #6 player. “He has a lot of confidence in himself, has the ability to beat very good opponents right now. He has really developed his sense of confidence on the court over the past couple of months.”

Prokurat bounced back from the doubles loss to earn a three-set victory at the #5 position. His doubles partner Fourticq was not as fortunate, falling just short in as many sets, as the Wildcats failed to pick up the necessary four points to win the match. The top three singles players failed to win their matches, but the match experience may be just as valuable.

“We play a really tough schedule,” Adams said when asked about his top three singles players. “My goal for these guys is to compete. I thought Josh had the opportunity to win the first set. Trey played a very, very tough match, he battled, had his opportunities. What I’m looking for is for them to grind out points, make balls and constantly compete. Against Marquette, the results weren’t there, but I thought they definitely brought it as far as the willingness to compete.”

Looking ahead for the Wildcats, the regular-season schedule nears its close as Villanova stares down the Big East tournament beginning on April 21. The team faced off against Drexel on Tuesday and will play Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday, before traveling to Washington DC for a Big East blockbuster against Georgetown. 

With only four matches left in the regular season, the men’s tennis team will need to convert the steady momentum into on-court results. A tough schedule can provide a battle-tested team, but the results remain to be seen with ever-dwindling time left for the Wildcats during their 2022 campaign.