The University of Utah men’s and women’s tennis teams both struggled this weekend at the ITA Kickoff with a collective 0-4 record.
Men vs. Tulsa
The Utes began strong in the opening game against Tulsa (4-0) as the duo of Slava Shainyan and Azat Hankuliyev started the matchup with a 6-2 victory and put the Utes up 1-0 over Tulsa. Following the first match, the Utes would go on to win just one of the following five matches, losing to Tulsa with an overall score of 4-2.
Men vs. Purdue
Following their first loss of the season to Tulsa, the men then faced Purdue University (1-3) early Sunday morning. This would be the first time these universities have ever faced off in a men’s tennis match, and unfortunately for the Utes, they would not come out victorious in this head-to-head matchup.
Despite leading 3-1 in the matchup series with singles victories from Mathias Gavelin, Paul McCallie and Slava Shainyan, the Utes struggled to find that final win and conceded three straight games, giving Purdue an overall 4-3 victory.
“Very proud of the battle our team showed out there today,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “We might have lost, but I thought that we really became more of a team today and played much better than the day before.”
The Week Ahead
The mens team (2-2 overall, 0-0 Pac-12) will now prepare for a three-game home stand as they compete against East Tennessee State (1-3) on Friday, Jan. 31, at 12 p.m. They will then play two matches on Saturday, Feb. 1 against Nevada (3-0) at 12 p.m. and Montana (0-0) 5 p.m. All three games will take place at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center.
Women vs. UCF
The women’s team came into the matchup on Saturday with high hopes of knocking the dominant No. 12 ranked UCF (1-0) off of their throne. Despite an incredible performance and huge upset win between Utah’s No. 24 ranked duo of Whitney Hekking and Madison Tattini, who defeated No. 3 duo Rebeka Stolmar and Marie Mattel, the Utes lost in heartbreaking fashion 4-3.
“Obviously we are disappointed that we weren’t able to come away with the wins,” said head coach Ric Mortera. “But it was an incredibly valuable experience this weekend to play one of the top teams in the nation in Central Florida.”
Women vs. Ole Miss
Coming off a discouraging loss the day before to UCF, Utah looked to bounce back over Ole Miss (2-0). Utah did not make any adjustments to their singles lineup, which had so much success the day before, but unfortunately Ole Miss came out dominating. Ole Miss did not drop a game to Utah, winning the series matchup 4-0.
The Week Ahead
The road trip continues for the women’s team (5-2 overall, 0-0 Pac-12) as they will travel to California to face UC Irvine (1-0) at their home court on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 12 p.m. They will then conclude their road trip against Loyola Marymount (1-1) at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16.