The Tiger men’s tennis team hosted the ITA Regional Tournament last weekend. Play ran from Friday to Sunday with teams experiencing many match delays due to inclement weather. No. 5 seeded sophomore Paxton Deuel won the singles tournament and the unseeded doubles team of junior Brandon Thompson and sophomore Eliot Guin won the doubles tournament. This is the fourth consecutive year that Trinity singles and doubles winners are advancing to the ITA national championships.
“This weekend was a good barometer for us. We knew we had a lot of new talent, a lot of depth. There was a lot of adversity with the weather; we had a lot of delays and long days. It was a good way to just see where our guys are mentally and how they are able to compete and stay in the match, despite all the distractions they had. It was an early test and they handled it really well,” said head coach Russell McMindes.
Five out of eight competitors were Trinity players in the quarterfinals; the semifinals were all Trinity players. No. 8 seeded junior Charlie Curtis defeated sophomore Connor Dunn 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals while Deuel defeated No. 2 seeded senior Greg Haugen 6-4, 6-3. In the finals match, Deuel beat Curtis 6-1, 6-1.
“Our entire team played incredibly well; we dominated the tournament,” Deuel said. Deuel played a total of eleven matches this past weekend. “As you kept progressing through the days, just focusing on getting to that end result keeps you motivated,” Deuel said.
In doubles play, No. 7 seeded team of Deuel and first-year Clayton Niess defeated No. 3 seeded team of junior Aaron Skinner and senior Nicolas Moreno 9-7 in the semifinals. Guin and Thompson also defeated Curtis and first year Chas Mayer 8-6 in their semifinals match. In the finals, Guin and Thompson defeated Deuel and Niess to advance to the ITA nationals.
“We weren’t favored to win at all. We were definitely supposed to lose in the quarter finals. Our biggest strength is the energy we have when we come out to play, that we create as a team. It’s a big threat to our opponents,” Guin said. “We were just extremely focused; we had nothing to lose, so we just let loose and we just played really good tennis this weekend,” Thompson said.
Deuel, Thompson and Guin will all advance to the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships Oct. 10-13 at Fort Myers, Fla.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge. We still have nothing to lose, so we’re just going to come out hot every match and let that be our main threat to our opponents,” Guin said.
The Trinity women’s tennis team competed in the ITA Regional Tournament Sept. 21-23 at the University of Texas-Tyler. Sophomore Caroline White, the tournament’s No. 10 seed, was the only Trinity singles player to reach the finals. Play began on Friday, but due to the inclement weather, teams had to travel two hours to Ennis, Texas, to play on indoor tennis courts. Play resumed in Tyler on Saturday and Sunday.
White defeated Hardin-Simmons’ Genene Haddad in the quarterfinals 7-5, 7-5. In the semifinals, White defeated No. 2 seed Casey Johnson of UT-Dallas. She led 3-0 in the first set but due to injury, Johnson retired from the match. White also defeated No.4 seed Amy Friesenhahn of UT-Tyler. In the finals, White lost 6-0, 6-2, to No. 1 seed Sofia Vega of Texas Lutheran. Despite the loss, it was Trinity’s third straight year to advance to the singles finals.
“We have really good team support on the sidelines. Everyone’s extremely supportive. If you have a bad point here and there, everyone’s behind you at your match to get you to keep on going and stay focused throughout the match. Coming into this tournament, we all wanted everybody to be in the finals, so it’s more of playing for your team rather than just yourself, so that triggers everybody to keep their focus and stay as competitive as they can be throughout their match,” White said.
Both Tiger doubles teams were eliminated in the semifinals. The fourth-seeded doubles team of sophomore Kristy Hamilton and senior Stephanie Williamson lost to UT-Dallas’s No. 1 seeded Johnson and Auvi Tran 9-8. No. 2 seeded Friesenhahn and Jessica Blundell of UT-Tyler defeated No. 3 seeded doubles team of senior Kylie Hornbeck and first year Liza Southwick 8-5.
“Everybody played really good matches, and I think, considering how we’ve done in the past years, this year was one of our past turnouts at the ITA,” White said.