The NC State men’s tennis team took to the court on Thursday, January 20, defeating Princeton 6-1 and winning Campbell 7-0 for a strong start to the spring season.
While not flawless, the win over Princeton was close with a strong performance in the doubles and some quick wins from the middle of their singles.
With a mix of returning and new faces in the lineup, the squad was able to score a quick point in overall match score after winning two out of three doubles matches. The top doubles of junior Martins Rocens and freshman Fons Van Sambeek won their match 6-3 while the duo of junior Robin Catry and sophomore Luca Staeheli won their match 6-2 to secure the point.
As for singles, Rocens and Staeheli comfortably beat their opponents 6-1, 6-3 and 6-2, 6-3, respectively. Sophomore Braden Shick and Van Sambeek also took home wins, raising the overall game score to 5-0, enough to secure NC State’s first win of the season.
However, it was the top of the lineup that seemingly struggled in the first round. Unfortunately, senior Rafa Izquierdo Luque was unable to overcome two hard-fought sets, both of which were extended to tiebreaks. Despite Izquierdo Luque coming up just short, losing 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4), the Wolfpack will still lean on the talented senior to be one of the best players for the team during the rest of the season. season.
Number 36 ranked Catry was able to take the win despite dropping the first set, 4-6. After that, the experienced junior managed to rally and win his next two sets 6-1 and 7-5. As one of the team’s most explosive players, the squad will need him to perform more and more frequently at big moments like these and secure wins in tight quarters.
— NC State Men’s Tennis 🐺🎾 (@PackMensTennis) January 20, 2022
A few hours later, the second leg of the double-header involved a showdown with Campbell University. Again, the double point was won comfortably by Wolfpack duos including senior Yannai Barkai paired with graduate Collin Shick and freshman Joseph Wayand paired with redshirt senior Joseph Schrader as both pairs won 6-3.
Following on from the first game, the singles round was dominated by NC State and while there was room for improvement in the match play, the squad’s second round of starting seeds was able to beat the Camels.
Rocens quickly dismantled his opponent 6-2, 6-1 and finished first in the singles round against Campbell. The junior has already started strong this spring by winning both of his singles in the double header and going 24-7 in gamescore during these matches.
Van Sambeek was also able to secure his second singles win of the day in the number 6 seed against Campbell. By winning 6-3, 6-2, the Dutch freshman won his first two career singles and first doubles within hours. Van Sambeek’s strong double-action start to the season could prove fruitful as he took the opportunity to show what he can do.
Other notable performances in singles included Schrader, who came back despite dropping his first set to win with a final score of 6-7 (9-11), 4-6 and 1-0 (10-5). Staeheli, Braden Shick and freshman Damien Salvestre all had close first sets but were able to get through before easily winning their second sets to add three more wins to the Wolfpack tally, successfully securing their second match win of the season. got the day.
The Wolfpack has a chance to capitalize on the momentum its victories gained against Princeton and Campbell as it travels to Mississippi for the ITA Men’s Tennis Kickoff. The Pack kicks off the weekend against Illinois on January 28.