Utah men’s tennis opened its spring 2017 campaign in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
During preparation for the tournament, conditions in the normally dry climate of Palm Springs had turned damp as rain continued off and on in the days leading up to match play. With rain pounding down on Friday, matches were postponed until Saturday.
“The wet weather made training for the weekend pretty difficult,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “We had a hard time getting out to train which caused a very slow start for us collectively.”
Despite the slow start, the weekend brought a lot of positives for the Utes. The individual side of the tournament saw sophomore David Micevski reach the finals in singles after beating Pepperdine’s Gabriel Sidney, 6-4, 6-3, and he then beat a second Pepperdine player, Pedro Iamachkine, in three sets. It would be a third Wave player in Stephan Menichella who got revenge for the losses of his teammates. Dan Little and Slava Shaniyan had strong starts in the singles matches, but they eventually both fell in the round of 16.
In doubles action, Joe Woolley and Little reached the finals after rushing past teams from San Francisco, Boise State and Pepperdine. Unfortunately for the Utes duo, it was once again a Pepperdine win for the title, as the team of Van Sky and Menichella took the title. For Woolley, doing well in doubles play was an atonement for being knocked out of the opening round of singles play by Harvey Shackleton of Boise State.
“Overall I was impressed with what I saw this weekend,” said Brateanu. “I didn’t like our start at all, but to have David reach the finals in singles, and then Joe and Dan finish second in doubles was overall as good as we could have hoped.”
The NCTC has been billed as the “Wimbledon of Collegiate Tennis,” which makes the Utes high finishes all the more impressive.
The Utes will have little time to enjoy their success of the weekend, as they host both Weber State and Idaho State this weekend at the Eccles Tennis Center. Following the matches in Salt Lake, they will head to Columbus, Ohio, for a weekend of matches against Ohio State, Denver, and Old Dominion before heading back home the first weekend of February for matches against Denver, Northern Arizona and Montana State.