Tennis 'Cats Off To Solid Start at ITA Regionals

Tennis 'Cats Off To Solid Start at ITA Regionals

ERIE, Pa. -- The West Virginia Wesleyan Men's tennis team tallied nine wins on day one of the ITA Atlantic Regional here Friday at Mercyhurst University.

The Bobcats managed to put six of their eight singles entries into the round of 16 and they have one doubles team in the semifinals as well. 

Freshmen Lukas Laipold (pictured) and Pierre-Olivier Bedard each won first round singles matches, and paired together to reach the final four in the B draw doubles.

Laipold rebounded from losing the first set at love in his match against Bluefield State's Anthony Braem, to win the second set and then the match in tiebreakers. Laipold's 0-6, 7-6 (4), 10-5 victory over the third seeded Braem was Wesleyan's first win in singles against a Big Blue opponent in three seasons.

Braem had previously won this event in 2014 and went to the ITA Small College Nationals.

Laipold joins Ramon Rodriguez in the round of 16 in the A Singles, after Rodriguez topped Daniel Fernandez of Edinboro by a 6-2 6-3 score. In the B Singles, Pedro Nassar, Alex Lyudinovskiy, Marko Golac, and Bedard all won their first round matches in straight sets to make through to the next round.

"Overall, it was about what we were expecting," said head coach Marc Walters. "We lost a couple we felt we could have won, and won a couple that certainly could have gone the other way, so it evens out. That was a great result for Lukas over an experienced senior, and Ramon continues to play at a solid level. Our depth is standing up so far and I am excited to see how we look tomorrow heading into some tougher matches that will test us physically."

On a down note for the 'Cats, senior Nathan Sabate dropped a 5-7 2-6 decision to Fairmont State's Micah Hornak, while Ferran Berga lost 2-6 5-7 to defending champion Baptiste Perrin of West Liberty. The duo also lost their second round doubles match to Mercyhurst, following a round one win over West Chester.

Play resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Pennbriar Racquet Club in Erie. Doubles will be followed by two rounds of singles, with finals set for Sunday at 11 a.m.