September 7, 2013
Albuquerque, N.M. – As the second day of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Collegiate Invitational came to an end on Saturday afternoon, the Lobos finished with mixed results.
The University of New Mexico’s men’s tennis program discovered its strengths and weaknesses after today’s performances at Empie Park. Associate head coach Bart Scott ended the day feeling extremely proud of his team, but also saw where they need to improve.
“In the first tournament of the season it’s always a little bit up and down. There’s always some flashes of brilliance and also some sloppy play, and that’s just the physical aspect,” said Scott.
Lobos Mitch McDaniels and Andy Van der Vyver started off the day with a victory in the Flight A Doubles match against Virginia Commonwealth’s Wilder Pimental and Michal Voseck, 9-7. The UNM duo unfortunately lost their following match to UNCW’s Alta and Williams, 8-0, which concluded their play in the doubles bracket.
After a loss on Friday, UNM’s Samir Iftikhar and James Hignett continued their play on the left side of the Flight A Doubles bracket. They took the victory over Eastern Carolina’s Nicolas Soriano and Patriek Wolterbeek, 8-2. The third seeded UNM duo continued their success in the semi-finals as they captured a win over UNCW’s Christiaan Van der Burgh and Karan Salwan, 8-2. Iftikhar and Hignett will compete in the finals match Sunday morning against Danill Gerasimov and Will East from North Carolina Central University.
Coach Bart Scott was extremely pleased with the outcome of the Lobos doubles matches.
“Doubles was a big improvement from yesterday. We worked on some things, adjusted some things, and they all came out and did a great job. Iftikhar and Hignett gave an exceptional performance after a tough loss yesterday,” said Scott.
The Lobos also ended Saturday’s tournament session with varied outcomes in the singles category. The UNM men’s tennis team found themselves facing mental challenges at the second day of the UNCW Invitational. The ability to keep composure throughout the highly competitive singles matches played a key factor in the Lobo’s performance on the court.
Iftikhar started his singles match with a four hour battle in the semi-finals against VCU’s Jean Baptiste Mateo. After a long day of on the court, Iftikhar ended his day with a victory over Mateo, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4. He will represent UNM in the Flight A Single’s championship Sunday morning. He will face VCU’s Alejandro Argente Sunday at 12:15 p.m. (EST) Alejandro is expected to be a very tough competitor.
McDaniels continued his play on the left side of Flight A Singles bracket after a loss on Friday. He won in a default and will face ECU’s Damien Brenard on Sunday afternoon.
The Lobos did not find as much success in the Flight B Singles bracket as Van Der Vyver and Hignett both fell short. Van der Vyver put up a tough fight against UNCW’s Zach Hublitz, but lost the match 6-4, 6-1. Hignett also battled as he faced Liberty’s Dillon Segur, but could not come out with the win. He lost to Segur, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“Overall it was a good day. We need to do a little better job as a whole, composing ourselves and staying calm in the big moments of the match. We made some improvements in doubles and we know what we need to approve upon in singles,” said Scott.
Iftikhar will represent the Lobos on Sunday morning in the Flight A Singles bracket. UNM looks forward to day three of the UNCW Invitational.