PREVIEW: @patriotstennis set to host six matches

Thursday, April 6, 2017
by Nathan Wright // @NateWrightPT

TYLER – The No. 17 UT Tyler men’s tennis team will play its final home matches of the regular season this weekend at the Summers Tennis Center, but it might be the biggest three days of the season for the Patriots.

UT Tyler will open the weekend with a match against No. 15 Trinity at 3 p.m. on Friday at the Summers Tennis Center. They will then play a pair of American Southwest Conference matches on Saturday against Belhaven at 9 a.m. and East Texas Baptist at 1:30 p.m. before closing the weekend at 10 a.m. on Sunday against No. 13 Whitman.

The Patriots are 12-4 overall this season and 1-0 in conference play after defeating Ozarks 9-0 last Saturday to open ASC action.

“This weekend is very important for both teams,” UT Tyler head coach Joe Vann said. “For our men, the two matches on Saturday are for us to help secure our hosting of the Men’s ASC Conference Tennis Tournament and #1 East Division seed. As for the two Nationally Ranked matches vs. Trinity and Whitman, it is very important for us to win these matches to better improve our seeding and ranking in the Western Region. For the Women, their matches on Saturday are important to help secure the No. 1 seed for the East Division in their conference tournament late this April.”

UT Tyler is led by sophomore Arthur Fagundes at the No. 1 singles position. Fagundes is 10-1 in singles play this season. He started 10-0 before losing his last time out.

Freshman Daniel Rodriguez is 13-2, has won his last 10 singles matches and is the reigning ASC men’s player of the week.

In doubles play, the Patriots have been led by the team of Pablo Gomez and Joey Fischer. The sophomore and senior have gone 12-3 this season.

Sunday’s match against Whitman will also be the final regular season home match for the three seniors on the men’s team. Jake Cunningham, Ryan Elwood and Fischer.

The women’s team will also be in action on Saturday and honor its senior as well. The Patriots will face Belhaven at 9 a.m. and ETBU at 4 p.m.

The Patriots are 7-8 overall this season and 1-0 in the ASC after sweeping Ozarks to begin conference play last Saturday.

Senior Tori Musngi is 8-4 in singles play this season. She and junior Alexis Arrieta are 12-3 in doubles play.

Musngi is the only senior on the women’s team and will be honored on Saturday as she plays the final home match of her career. 

“More than anything I would like to see them play well,” Vann said. “We have been playing great singles matches, and matching it line for line against some great teams. However, our doubles play has been a little up and down this year at various spots. What I will be looking for this weekend is the culmination of the singles and doubles play that we have been working towards all year. The men have been practicing hard, and I would love to see it all pay off for them on such a big weekend.”