I really want to do separate posts on the separate UB Tennis teams, but for the second straight weekend, it's not really worth it as the women only played a single match. Last week, it was due to scheduling, but this time around UB's contests against New Mexico State and Texas State were wiped out due to rain.
As a result, the ladies got just a single match, a 6-1 loss to UTEP, out of their long trip to El Paso. Nearer to home, the men enjoyed a 2-1 weekend thanks to a close win over Army, an easy win over Boston College, and a rough loss to UCF.
Women: vs Texas State CANCELED, vs New Mexico State CANCELED, at UTEP L 6-1
The long and the short of it for the women right now is we still just don't have enough context. From what I can gather, UTEP was the strongest team of the three on UB's weekend schedule.
I'm more dismayed by the two rainouts than I am the loss to the Miners, to be honest, but in that match the lone point came form Laura Fernandez in the #5 slot thanks to a come-from-behind (2-6), 6-4, 6-4 win. Margarita Kotok and Dayana Agasieva also won their doubles set, but UB's two other pairings each lost by slim margins to hand the doubles point to UTEP.
Without much to say in the way of competition, I'll end by noting the lineup changes from the season opener against Saint Bonaventure. Newcomer Doris Aleksovska earned a shot into the doubles lineup, which mixed up the stable pairings we saw in the fall and against Bonaventure. Roughly, she took the place of Christine Haraldson, thouugh Hararldson's usual partner, Margarita Kotok, moved to play with Agasieva, and Aleskovska played with Agasieva's usual pairing in Tanja Stojanovska. The Lauras Fernandez and Holterbosch played together as usual.
In the singles lineup, slots #1 and #2 were the same, but Agasieva played at #3, bumping the Lauras down a spot. Aleksovska played at #6, while Haraldson fell out of the lineup. I suspect this is closer to what will become Coach Ortman Maines' standard lineup, since St. Bonaventure wasn't expected to - and didn't - put up much of a fight.
Men: at Army W 4-3, vs Boston College W 7-0, vs UCF L 4-0
Not too much of a surprise from the men this weekend, though I wasn't expecting a clean sweep over the Eagles and was maybe a bit more optimistic for a strong result against UCF. Note that for whatever reason that final match was abandoned once the Knights clinched their fourth point.
It's becoming a common theme even early in the spring to see the Bulls struggle with the doubles point. UB went 1-2 in those opening rounds this weekend, and are now 3-4 on the season. Not once has Buffalo swept all three doubles sets, and each of their three wins there feature at least a 7-5 or 7-6 set. Getting that point from the beginning is so critical, because with it, a team can split the six singles matches and claim the team win, but without it you have to go 4-2 in singles.
Coach Nickell today specifically identified the doubles play as a concern, but for what it's worth, we did get consistent pairings over the weekend, with Damien David/Amar Hromic and Jonathan Hannestad/Sergio Arevalillo holding down the first and second pairings, and either Pablo Alvarez/Sebastien Ionescu or Akhil Mehta/Noah Hajdu-Andersson in the third slot. It's the most consistency we've seen in doubles so far this year, and it seems to me that one way to improve is to let guys build chemistry with each other.
We also saw consistency in the singles lineup. David, Ionescu, and Alvarez continue to lock down the first three spots, and Sergio Arevalillo sat in #4 all weekend. After that, it's Hromic at #5, Hannestad at #6, and Hajdu-Andersson next in when someone sits out, as Hromic did against Boston College.
The men started the year fast, with seven matches in three weekends, but are about to slow down. This coming weekend they compete just once, at Cleveland State on Saturday. After that, there's nothing for two weeks.
The women are likewise in action once this weekend before a break to the 20th, and they bring us our first home match of the year when they host West Virginia at 1:00 on Friday.