Juri Reckrow receives a serve against his opponent. Photo by Ethan Gullet

Juri Reckrow receives a serve against his opponent. Photo by Ethan Gullet

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After competing in the 2019 ITA All-American Championships hosted by Tulsa, UTSA Roadrunner men’s tennis team continued their fall season with a three-day tournament this past weekend.

On Friday, Oct. 11, senior Patrick Poestinger, sophomore Alan Sanson and freshmen Joao Alcantara and Kaito Nishihara, faced tough opponents and the challenging weather of Beaumont, Texas. The tennis team was preparing to play singles and doubles matches in the Ron Wesbrooks Invitational hosted by Lamar University. Fog, thundershowers and light rains appeared, which prevented action on the courts for some time. The ‘Runners’ assistant coach Cullen Dees acknowledged the harsh weather conditions, knowing the ‘Runners were in for a fight in more ways than one.

Despite the foreboding weather that set the tone at the beginning of the day, athletes from Lamar University, Tyler Junior College, Nicholls State University, UT Austin and the ‘Runners united in their rivalry against the brittle winds battering the Thompson Family Tennis Center. The ‘Runners struggled but showed great grit in their battles as partners Alcantara and Sanson competed against Tyler Junior College’s Beecher and Minakata, falling short 4-6 in the first round of the Flight One Doubles bracket. At the same time, Poestinger and Nishihara competed against UT Austin’s Caffarena and Alban and were defeated 6-3 in a fierce showdown.

When singles matches began, Sanson was impeded in his quest for success by Lamar University’s Axel Vila Antuna, losing 6-3 6-2. While his teammate clashed against Lamar University, Alcantara continued Friday with a Flight Two singles match against Tyler Junior College’s Rohit Patel. Coming out of the first set with a loss of 3-6, Alcantara came back into the second set determined to win and achieved victory with a 6-3 outcome. In a well-fought super tiebreaker, he came out 8-10, short two points from obtaining a win for the ‘Runners. Poestinger finished the singles play for the day on a positive note when he won against Nicholls’ Omar Mosey in a close match. Successful in his first set with a score of 6-3, Poestinger moved on to play a tightly-contested second set where he came below Mosey 6-7(3). Poestinger reigned victor when he won the deciding tiebreaker 10-7; it was a great end to a long day. Although the ‘Runners had a tough start, they remained resilient and proved successful.

The ‘Runners efforts persisted Saturday as Alcantara and Sanson opposed Nicholls’ Martin-Thiriat and Machado, avenging their previous loss on Friday with a score of 6-2, putting them in an excellent place to continue their triumph in the doubles consolation bracket. Meanwhile, Poestinger and Nishihara encountered Lamar University’s Benibo and Lauer in an exciting match, narrowly losing 6-7(3-7) in their final doubles match of the tournament.

Finished with doubles for the day, the ‘Runners continued their contention in the singles bracket, but unfortunately, Sanson lost to Tyler Junior College’s Lamar Bartley 2-6 0-6. Like Sanson, Poestinger competed against Tyler Junior College, losing 6-7(7-9) and 0-6 to Matthew Beecher. Alcantara played a match against Nicholls State University’s Prasanna Bagade, sweeping him the first set 6-2 and finishing off the second set with a strong 6-3, obtaining a win for the ‘Runners. After receiving a bye on the first day of the tournament, Nishihara played Nicholls’ Antoine Martin-Thiriat in a match, defeating him 6-1 in the first set, causing Martin-Thiriat to fight hard and come out 6-4 in the second set. Settling the match, Nishihara scored a win for the ‘Runners with a tiebreaking score of 10-5. Alcantara and Poestinger continued their singles play, Alcantara falling short to Lamar University’s C. Paton Canal 1-6 3-6 while Poestinger won the first set of his match against Lamar University’s Joshua Taylor 6-2. Advancing into the second set, Poestinger’s opponent came back and won 4-6, tying their scores and leading them to a super tiebreaker in which Poestinger won 11-9. Nishihara finished the day with a loss of 3-6 2-6 to Tyler Junior College’s Ryo Minakata.

Sanson and Alcantara hit the courts, ready and confident to play Nicholls’ Salekar and Bagade after the ‘Runners duo’s previous win. In their final doubles match of the day, Sanson and Alcantara secured a 7-5 victory, winning the Flight One Doubles consolation bracket. Simultaneously, Poestinger and Nishihara played Nicholls’ Drobnjakovic and Scheuffler and fell short 3-6, concluding the ‘Runners’ doubles play in the tournament.

Sanson competed against Tyler Junior College’s M. Kvantaliani. Winning the first set 6-3 with ease, Sanson was surprised at the second set when Kvantaliani bounced back and won 6-0. In a close super tiebreaker, Sanson came out ahead by two points (10-8), winning third place in the Flight One Singles bracket. Likewise, Alcantara placed fifth in the Flight Two Singles bracket when he defeated opponent Piyush Salekar in a skillful display, winning the match overall with 7-6(7-2), 5-7, 11-9. Unfortunately, Poestinger lost his last singles match 4-6 3-6, along with teammate Nishihara who was bested by UT Austin’s Ricardo Alban 2-6 2-6. However, Nishihara placed fourth in the Flight Four Singles in the tournament, a testament to his proficiency and aptitude on the courts.

Overall, Dees summarized the tournament well when he concluded, “All in all, this weekend was just what these guys needed: a lot of tough matches, a little bit of tough weather conditions and some wins and losses to build on. We will take the things we didn’t do so well and look to improve. We have to compete better in some key moments in matches and stay tough mentally all the way through, but we did a lot of good this weekend too. We will take what we did well and carry it over to our next tournament at Rice this coming weekend.”

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