Fall recap: UNCW men’s and women’s tennis

Marshall Waren 

Calvin Shomaker | Copy Editor | @cshomaker12

Women show experience and depth

The UNC Wilmington women’s tennis team closed out fall play on Oct. 30 at Virginia Tech’s Hokie Invitational when senior Annika Sillanpaa won the consolation title in the Grey singles bracket and junior Madara Straume made it to the Maroon flight final. Sophomore Laura Gomez and freshman Celeste Matute took fifth place in the main doubles bracket of the tournament that included players from Virginia Tech, Radford, Virginia Commonwealth, James Madison, Towson, George Washington and Marshall. Gomez won the A-Flight championship at the N.C. Central Invitational just a week prior to the Hokie Invitational.

At the fall’s premier event, the United States Tennis Association-Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional, Straume teamed up with sophomore Sabrina Barisano to defeat tandems from Campbell, North Carolina and N.C. State before falling in the quarterfinals to a duo from Duke.

In singles action, Straume knocked off a player from N.C. State before losing in the second round to Alexa Graham of UNC.

Sillanpaa and fellow senior Alix Theodossiou both won two singles matches in the qualifying rounds before losing in round one of the main draw.

At the two-day Seahawk Invitational on Oct. 1-2 the Seahawks finished 12-3 in singles and 6-2 in doubles against players from Campbell, UNC Greensboro and Virginia Tech.

At the College of Charleston Invitational, the first outing of the fall, Straume and Matute won singles titles while Hollie Champion and Xandra Fougner teamed up for a doubles crown.

The women’s team is back in action on Jan. 22 at noon when Furman University visits UNCW for its first home match of the spring season. The Lady Seahawks will be at home 10 times this spring including matches on Feb. 25 vs. Elon, March 10 vs. Michigan State, March 26 vs. Delaware and April 12 vs. N.C. Central for Senior Day.

Men impress with ‘steady improvement’ 

On Nov. 4-6 at the Seahawk Fall Invitational, junior Josh Hublitz won singles matches against Boston College, Richmond and USC Upstate while teaming up with fellow junior Andres Torres in doubles to defeat pairs from the same schools. The tandem of sophomore Agustin Savarino and freshman Gabe Hocevar added two doubles wins.

Marshall Waren, a freshman from Wilmington, came back from a 5-0 deficit in the third set on Sunday to finish the weekend with two singles victories. The Seahawks finished 9-4 in singles over the course of the weekend.

Torres and Hublitz each won consolation titles in singles at N.C. State’s Wolfpack Invitational on Oct. 21-23. Torres defeated Sebastian Salinas of James Madison and Hublitz won against James Ling of East Carolina. The Torres and Waren duo won two doubles matches before losing in the final of their draw.

In September, Torres reached the championship of the A2 singles bracket at the Elon Fall Invitational with wins coming against players from Clemson and UNC Asheville before rain ended the tournament a day early.

Head coach Mait DuBois said one of the fall’s highlights was when Hublitz and Hocevar upset a nationally-ranked University of South Carolina (#16) doubles team in the first round of the USTA-ITA Regional in October.

Overall, DuBois has seen the team shown signs of constant growth.

“I’ve been pretty impressed that it’s just been steady improvement,” said DuBois. “The personality of the team is really coming together.”

The men’s team is back in action on Jan. 21 at noon vs. Appalachian State at the UNCW Tennis Courts aka “The Bird Cage.” It will be the first of 10 home appearances slated for the spring season which features visits from UNC Greensboro on March 12, Virginia Commonwealth on April 1 and Old Dominion on April 14.