McArthur Tennis Center in Reno, NV, was teeming with tennis players this past weekend as the Wolf Pack Men’s Tennis team won just one of their three match-ups. Nevada defeated Air Force in their first conference game 4-1 on March 31, fell to Northern Arizona 4-2 during their game on April 1 and lost their second conference game against the New Mexico Lobos 4-1 on April 2.
Pack Men’s Tennis began to play way back in September during the UC Davis Invitational, but wins and losses didn’t begin to count until Jan. 18, when Nevada took on UC Riverside. During the doubles portion of the competition, the Wolf Pack did not put their best foot forward. Only one of the three Nevada doubles teams won that day, making the singles portion of the match-up that much more crucial. The only pair that came away with a win that day was the duo of Augustin Delahodde and Julien Evrard. After the doubles competition, the Pack came out with some extra fire, only losing one of their six singles matches, leading to UC Riversides demise.
The Pack then moved on to face off against UC Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, CA, where they made mince meat of their opponents. The Wolf Pack did not lose a single match that day, notching a perfect 7-0 victory. But, just as Nevada appeared to be poised for a monumental season, a slump quickly struck the team. From Feb. 11 to March 10, the team went on a 5 game losing streak.
“We can look for excuses all the time, that would be an escape,” said head coach Sylvain Marloux
Following their five-game skid, the Pack rallied to defeat Northern Colorado in Sacramento, CA, during the Golden State Invitational on March 11. A win streak did not come from this win as the very next day they were defeated by New Mexico State. Nevada then went on a five-game home stand where they were victorious in three of the five match-ups.
NEVADA VS AIR FORCE
The Pack started off the match strong with their play in the doubles segment. The first pair to finish was the duo comprised of Kotsya Nesterenko and Mile Cilic, who defeated their Air Force opponents 6-3. The next doubles match that finished went in favor of Air Force and the final doubles pair consisting of Robert Margitfalvi and Peter O’Donovan shot down the Air Force Falcons 7-5. Following the doubles portion, the players took a much-needed break, so they could be at full strength going into singles play. The Pack took care of business in the singles portion of the game as well, as Julien Evrard, Cilic and O’Donovan put the final nail in the coffin of the Air Force Falcons.
“It was a battle but we came out strong,” said O’Donovan. “We were tough on every court. We got a good team win there, in some pretty difficult conditions.”
NEVADA VS NORTHERN ARIZONA
Unlike the Pack’s match against Air Force, they failed to win a single match in the doubles category, putting them in a huge hole going into singles.
Head coach Malroux attested to how detrimental opening doubles with a loss can be.
“When you put yourself down 1-0 it’s not easy to come back, but they almost did,” said Malroux.
The pair made up of O’Donovan and Sandro Lena lost 6-1, and so too did the duo of Cilic and Nesterenko, except they won too extra sets. The Wolf Pack then looked towards the singles part of the match, as this could have been their only saving grace. Much like the doubles segment, the team failed to play at the same level as their opponent, only winning two of the five finished matches.
“We came out a little bit flat,” said Budapest, Hungary native Robert Margitfaivi. `
NEVADA VS NEW MEXICO
The final match of the Wolf Pack’s five-game home stand did not go according to plan either, as they dropped their second conference game of the year to the New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos took the doubles point after an incredible comeback from Ricky Hernandez-Tong and Lawrence Perrin, as they came back from a 2-5 deficit to defeat Evrard and Delahodde. With Nevada again losing the doubles point, it put them in a tough position to win. The singles competition ensued shortly after, and Nevada appeared to be in good shape. Although New Mexico had won two matches within the singles portion, Nevada’s Nesternko defeated his Lobos opponent. After Nesternko’s win, Evrard was put down by New Mexico’s Bart Van Leijsen. While the final score shows a 4-1 victory for New Mexico, both O’Donovan and Delahodde were up on their Lobo’s counterparts. Since New Mexico reached 4 wins faster then Nevada, O’Donovan and Delahodde were unable to complete their matches. If they had finished, the score would’ve looked much closer, with New Mexico narrowly edging out Nevada 4-3.
“We’ll bounce back next weekend,” said O’Donovan. “We have UNLV and San Diego, both away matches. Hopefully we come away with a couple of wins there.”
While Nevada doesn’t appear to be the best team in the Mountain West Conference, Marloux says it is important to note that this team is extremely young, boasting only one senior on the entire roster. Along with the team’s lone senior, half of the starting line-up is comprised of freshmen.