Men’s Tennis: Wildcats head to Columbus for ITA Regional Championships


Daily file photo by Meghan White

Alex Pasareanu is one member of the Wildcats’ squad who is looking to improve on his performance in Ohio. The junior was defeated in the second round of pre-qualifiers in Tulsa, Okla.

Julian Gerez, Reporter

The Wildcats travel to the ITA Regional Championships in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday after a lackluster performance in their season’s inaugural tournament.

All members of the team, with the exception of senior and captain Raleigh Smith, who is injured, are participating in the tournament.

“The best players in the region will play,” coach Arvid Swan said. “It’ll be a good opportunity to see how we do against the best teams.”

Freshman Sam Shropshire is the No. 15 seed in the singles tournament main draw. Shropshire and sophomore Mihir Kumar form the pair that is the No. 11 seed in the first bracket of the doubles tournament. Freshman Alp Horoz rounds out the seeded members of Northwestern at the No. 3 spot in the singles qualifier.

The winner and finalists of the Regional Championships will make it to February’s ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.

“It’s a big tournament in that way as well,” Swan said.

Freshmen make up half of the players in the young but industrious squad that’s headed to the Buckeye State.

“They’re working really hard,” Kumar said. “They’re only making us better, and it’s great to have them and help them grow.”

Swan echoed Kumar’s sentiment, saying it is an amazing group of freshmen that fit in very well with the team and have a work ethic that is “off the charts.”

Since the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., a few of weeks ago, NU has been hard at work preparing for its next chance in Columbus.

“We’ve been learning how to compete as a team and individually maximize our own games,” said Kumar, one of four players who traveled to Tulsa.

In the previous tournament, each NU competitor advanced to the second round of the pre-qualifiers. Shropshire, Kumar, junior Alex Pasareanu and freshman Konrad Zieba all made appearances on the court.

Shropshire’s run continued after advancing through the second and third rounds into the final round of pre-qualifiers before falling to Jordan Daigle from the University of Virginia. Kumar and Zieba lost in the third round, and Pasareanu was defeated in the second round.

“The biggest takeaway was in critical moments against ranked players, we have to play aggressively,” Swan said. “That’s something we’ve been stressing since that tournament. We have to go for our shots and try to take the match rather than play defensive.”

Swan said that although Smith is injured, he continues to play an important role in terms of leadership.

“Even though he’s hurt, he’s our captain and he’s a tremendous leader,” Swan said.

Kumar added that other members of the team have stepped up and “embraced a leadership role.”

In the end, though, the young team seeks to continue improving throughout the season.

“It’s about getting better on a daily basis,” Swan said.

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