Samir Iftikhar left a strong impression on the east coast after capturing the Flight A Singles championship title on Sunday, Sept. 8.
September 8, 2013
Albuquerque, N.M. – The Lobo men’s tennis program left the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Collegiate Invitational with a winning record and a championship title.
The University of New Mexico’s men’s tennis team headed to North Carolina with a few goals in mind. After three long and competitive days on the tennis court, the Lobos are heading back to Albuquerque knowing every team goal was exceeded. Since the tournament first began on the morning of Friday, Sept. 6, to the minute the championship matches came to an end, the Lobos were battling to create a name for UNM on the east coast.
Junior Samir Iftikhar led the Lobos as he captured the Flight A Singles championship title on Sunday morning. Iftikhar proved himself as a high level competitor after defeating Virginia Commonwealth’s Alejandro Argente, 6-4, 6-4. Argente is a strong VCU competitor who recently beat the 33rd ITA ranked player in the nation. Fortunately, Iftikhar was able to pull off the victory and represent the Lobos in the championship match at their first tournament of the season.
“It’s great to start the year on a positive note,” said Iftikhar. “I was a little tired from the long matches the day before, but I knew I had to leave it all on the court today.”
Mitch McDaniels also took home a championship title as he competed in the back draw of the Flight A Singles bracket. He defeated Eastern Carolina’s Damien Brenard, 6-1, 6-2. McDaniels also defeated UNCW’s Karan Salwan in an extra match, 6-0, 6-7, 6-3. During tournament season, the coaches often deviate from actual draw in order to create more opportunities for the players to compete while on the road. All extra matches are accounted for by the International Collegiate Tennis Association.
Lobo James Hignett ended Saturday’s session by losing in the semi-finals of the Flight B Singles bracket, but competed in an extra accountable match on Sunday morning against VCU’s Wilder Pimental. Hignett took the victory over Pimental, 1-6, 6-2, 7-5.
UNM’s Andrew Van der Vyver also competed in an accountable extra match against Liberty University, where he won 6-0, 2-6, 10-3.
The Lobos also found success in the doubles category on the last day of the UNCW tournament. Due to a scheduling conflict, Iftikhar and Hignett had to default their match against North Carolina Central University. In order for to create more match opportunities for both teams, UNM’s McDaniels and Van der Vyver filled in for their teammates and played against NCCU’s Danill Gerasimov and Will East. The Lobos won the match, 8-5.
UNM men’s tennis completed their first tournament of the 2013-14 season with a record to be proud of. Coach Bart Scott is thrilled about the accomplishments that his players achieved over the past weekend.
“We had a couple goals coming down here,” said Coach Scott. “We wanted to play a lot of matches, hit a ton of balls at sea level where we could have a ton of rallies, and to get the Lobo brand visible on the east coast. I think we definitely did all of that.”
UNM’s next tournament will take place Sept. 13-15 at the Midland Invitational in Midland, TX.