By Carolina Garcia, Staff Writer
Over the weekend, Armstrong State Men’s Tennis team began their fall season at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens. The first day of the Championships proved to be a solid debut for the Pirates.
Two pirates started the weekend off on Friday in the Draw I bracket. Senior Fernando Bojago and Junior Pablo Gor. Bojago defeated Trey Yates of Kentucky 6-2, 6-4. Gor defeated Luke Johnson of Clemson with a 6-4, 6-4 win. Both Pirates advanced to the Round of 32, where Bojago faced Diego Nunez of East Tennessee State on Saturday, and Gor took on Nathan Rakitt of Georgia Tech.
Sophmore Ignacio Hernandez clenched a 6-2, 6-2 win against Walker Sims of Navy. Junior Marek Pešička came back after a 6-7 loss to defeat Daniel Yun of Georgia Tech with a 6-1, 6-1 win. Hernandez and Pešička advanced to the Draw II singles Round of 32. Sophomores Luca Cerin and Damian Okrutny lost in their Draw II singles matches between Sebastian Yilera of East Tennessee State and Will Neuner of Florida Atlantic.
Coach Sean McCaffrey stated, “”I feel the guys did a very nice job setting the tone for the upcoming year. It sends a message that these men are hungry.”
Okrutny paired with Hernandez in their first round Draw I doubles match on Friday with an 8-2 win over Arovin and Smirnov of Tennessee Tech, but in their second round match lost 8-4 to the fourth-seeded pair of Diaz and Smith of Georgia. Bogajo and Gor paired up to defeat Harris and Strawn with an 8-4 win in the second round after a first-round bye. Cerin and Pešička suffered a loss to Albanese and Herrerias of Arkansas, ending day one of the Championships.
Day two of the Southern Intercollegiate Championships began with Gor clenching two wins in order to ensure a spot in the Draw I Quarterfinals. Gor defeated Nathan Rakitt of Georgia Tech with a 7-6, 6-4 win as well as Marco Nunez of Florida State with scores of 3-6, 7-5, and 6-0. Bogajo began the day with a win against 14 seeded Diego Nunez of East Tennessee State, but ended his run in the Draw I bracket with a loss to Wayne Montgomery of Georgia in the Round of 16.
Hernandez and Pešička suffered defeats in the Draw II second round while Okrunty defeated Brent Lett of Clemson with a 6-2, 4-6, 11-9 win. Doubles Bogajo and Gor knocked out the eighth-seeded pair of Pasha and Montgomery of Georgia with an 8-4 win in the Round of 16 on Saturday, advancing to the quaterfinals on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, no Pirates were able to make it to the semifinals.
“At the conclusion we had more wins than losses and demonstrated that we can compete with anyone,” McCaffrey said, “The team represented Armstrong Pirate Tennis with class and sportsmanship. Ultimately our focus is to improve each time we train and practice and I have no doubt we will do that as the season progresses,”
The Men’s Tennis team will take the court again in Sumter, South Carolina on Friday, September 26 for the weekend long ITA Southeast Regionals.