ATLANTA, Ga. – The Citadel men's tennis team dropped two 7-0 matches at Georgia Tech Tuesday afternoon at the Ken Byers Complex.
Despite the final scores, head coach Chuck Kriese was encouraged by the fight he saw out of his cadet-athletes against a tough Yellow Jackets team.
"Georgia Tech is well coached and their players played tough from start to finish," said Kriese. "I'm very happy for the opportunity to play these types of matches early in the season and try to get our team up to racing speed. These tough matches that we play work great for teaching our guys about the level that they have to play at day in and day out. They are priceless to play.
"In the 18 matches that we played against Georgia Tech in singles and doubles, we had eight that had many, many wars zones and featured very even competitive play," Kriese continued. "Willy van Zyl's match alone was worth the trip as it lasted for over two and a half hours and he learned that he could fight to the end with a top player. The players' abilities to fight through war zones and tough situations over and over in a match is exactly what we need to learn. I'm very grateful for this competition. We did not go backwards at all in any situation and it made us hone in for the level that we half to compete at the rest of this season."
In the day's first match, Willem van Zyl and Gavin Stewart fell 6-2 to Carlos Divar and Michael Kay at No. 1 doubles with Matthew Henson and Will Graham falling 6-2 to Andrew Li and Chris Yun at No. 2 doubles. Roy Hobson and Trey Davis took on Elijah Melende and Brandon Freestone at No. 3 doubles, falling 6-3.
In singles action, van Zyl took on Divar in No. 1 singles, falling 6-0, 6-2 while Hobson played Li at No. 2 singles with Li claiming the match 6-0, 6-1. At No. 3 singles, Jack Pyritz fell to Yun 6-1, 6-2 while Graham fell 6-1, 6-3 to Kay at No. 4 singles. Henson and Stewart rounded out the match at No. 5 and No. 6 with Henson falling to Melendez 6-1, 6-2 and Stewart falling 6-1, 6-4 to Freestone.
In the day's second match, Henson and Graham combined forces at No. 1 doubles, falling 6-3 to Divar and Kay while van Zyl and Stewart teamed up at No. 2 doubles, falling 7-6 (0-7) to Li and Daniel Yun in a tie breaker. Pyritz and Hobson rounded out the doubles matchups for the Bulldogs, falling 6-3 to Melendez and Chris Yun.
In singles action, Hobson competed against Divar at No. 1, falling 6-1, 6-0. Van Zyl claimed the Bulldogs' lone set on the day as he fell 5-2, 5-7, 6-2 at No. 2 singles to Chris Yun. Henson fell 6-3, 6-1 at the hands of Daniel Yun at No. 3 singles while Pyritz fell 6-2, 6-3 to Melendez at No. 4 singles. Davis and Graham rounded out the singles action at No. 5 and No. 6 singles, respectively, with Davis falling 6-3, 6-0 to Kay and Graham falling 6-3, 6-2 to Freestone.
The Bulldogs will remain on the road for matches at South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee in the coming weeks. The Bulldogs will next head to Columbia, South Carolina, to take on the Gamecocks on Saturday, Jan. 13 in a doubleheader. From there, The Citadel will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for a single match at 5 p.m. Eastern standard time. The Bulldogs will close out the first tough stretch of the season with a doubleheader on Sunday, Jan. 21 at Tennessee.
The Citadel's first home match will be Saturday, Jan. 27 against Eastern Washington.