PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville tennis team got its season off to a strong start over the weekend in the University of Charleston Invitational.
Pikeville, ranked 18th in the NAIA preseason coaches poll, took the championship in four of the night flights of the preseason event, which saw the Bears do battle with seven other programs, all of them NCAA Div. II squads. The Bears won one of three doubles divisions and three of the six singles flights.
Five of the six singles players made it to the semifinals of this tournament and two of the three doubles teams made it to the semifinals. “We are a very young team with heart and talent,” said Coach Tim Alderman. “This could spell trouble for a lot of teams as on a given day we can beat anyone.”
Dmitry Babenkov and Connor Smith from UPIKE defeated the following in tennis doubles to win the No. 2 seed championship. The team beat Ochoa/Hill from Davis and Elkins 8-4, were 8-1 winners over Boyle/Contente from Concord University and 8-4 winners over Tjohn/Johnston from Ohio Dominican University.
In the singles draw, Sven Rodenbusch from UPIKE won the No. 2 seed championship. He was a 6-1, 6-3 winner over Zach Smith from Fairmont State University; a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Sam Humphrey from University of Charleston; and a 6-3, 6-0 winner over Simon Meriau from Davis and Elkins.
In the No. 5 flights, Jose Enrique Marval from UPIKE was the winner in the No. 5 seed championship. He knocked off Bill Wright of Concord 6-2, 6-4; Andre Fernandes from West Virginia Wesleyan College 6-1, 6-1; and was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Jake Lorenz from University of Charleston.
Luis Perez Lerxtundi from UPIKE won the No. 6 seed championship. He did so by beating Jason Wood of Davis and Elkins 6-0, 6-0; Gerardo Perez of Ohio Dominican 6-2, 7-5; and took the crown with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Nick Bakos from University of Charleston.