Men’s tennis combines new coaching staff and veteran talent at Saint Joseph’s Invitational

Bri Pomonis, Contributing Writer

The men’s tennis team continued its fall season success with the second tournament of the year at the Saint Joseph’s Invitational the weekend of Sept. 16-18.

New head coach Bruce Myers brought four players to represent the Bison: Timber Erskine ’18, Daniel Wright ’18, Andrei Vitiuc ’19, and Colin Sacco ’20.

“I felt it would be best to bring a more limited number of players so I could spend more time observing as well as coaching on the court, which should make our practices and practice time the rest of the fall and early spring more productive,” Myers said.

The opening day proved to be a strong start for the Bison, who went 2-1 for singles and 3-1 in doubles play. Wright, who went into the tournament 3-0 after the Bison’s Fall Invite, tallied a win after beating his Villanova opponent 6-4, 6-2. Sacco tallied his first career singles win with a 5-7, 6-2 victory over Loyola.  In doubles, pair Wright and Vitiuc won two matches over Lafayette and Villanova to advance to the quarterfinal on Sept. 18. Erskine and Sacco started their doubles run with a victory over Villanova, but fell to Saint Joseph’s 8-6 in quarterfinals.

Erskine continued his winning streak and earned a spot in semifinals after winning matches against Loyola (6-3, 6-3) and Delaware (6-4, 6-4). Wright was edged out by last year’s South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year of Saint Joseph’s, with a score of 12-10.

“It was a very close match that could have gone either way, especially during a match tie-break,” Wright said. “I feel like I have learned a lot from that match and this experience will help me for future matches.”

The tournament concluded on Sept. 18 with Erskine finishing as the runner-up in singles, concluding Saint Joseph’s Invitational with a 3-1 record. Vitiuc and Wright topped Niagara in the quarterfinal round of Flight 1, but came up short in the semifinal match against Drexel 8-4.

The Bison performed well against spring-season regulars Loyola, Lafayette, Lehigh, and Villanova, finishing 7-2 in singles and 3-0 in doubles against their teams.

“I will definitely take some confidence from a couple of wins against Patriot League rivals, and because our ultimate goal is a Patriot League Championship, it motivates everyone to continue working hard this fall and in the off-season so we are playing our best tennis come spring,” Erskine said.

“I believe that along with the new coach and his fresh style of coaching, we can keep the momentum going and peak during spring season when the Patriot League happens,” Vitiuc said.

The team will next visit Annapolis, Md. to play in the Navy Invite Sept. 23-25.

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