After a perfect start to the season with road wins over Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M, the men’s tennis team takes on Stetson University this Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, at 1 p.m. at the CofC Tennis Center at Patriots Point in its first home match of the season.
“We have a very experienced group, even the freshman are highly competitive and experienced in international tennis circles,” says Jay Bruner, who is in his 11th year as head coach. “Our No. 1 and 2 players, Juan Estevarena, a senior from Argentina, and Benedikt Henning, a junior from Germany, both had phenomenal seasons last year. I think they went 31-7 collectively in singles.”
Three, one-set doubles matches will start the competition, with the majority winner carrying a 1-0 advantage into the six singles matches. The singles are worth a point each for a total of seven points. This is the first time the Cougars will play Stetson, located in central Florida, since Bruner has been coaching.
“Stetson might have an advantage on paper with individual rankings, but for our guys to get to play a home match outdoors in February, something that doesn’t always happen, they should feel pretty comfortable ,” the coach adds. “I think it’s going to be a close match. It will help define us here in the first segment of the season.”
The Cougars play Furman away on Saturday, but then this Sunday’s contest is the first of four-straight home matches for the Cougars that will keep them in town through most of the month. Next up is SC State next Saturday, Feb. 17, followed by North Carolina A&T the next day, Feb. 18, and St. John’s University on Wed., Feb. 21.
“We don’t normally get this many matches at home this early, so it’s good,” says Bruner, who played his college tennis at Virginia Tech. “The guys get some time to be home and at the same time get a lot of different opponents. The matches will have an element of interest because they’re teams we don’t normally play, so it makes it kind of fun.”
Featured in above photo: Juan Estevarena at an NCAA match in 2016.