|Men's tennis opens strong|
MOSCOW, Idaho - The Idaho men's tennis team split up to compete in the Baylor Fall Tournament in Waco, Texas and the EWU/GU Invitational in Cheney, Wash., over the weekend, and turned some heads in both events.
Four Vandals -- Lachlan Reed, Alex Joitoiu, Marius Cirstea and Jose Bendeck - travelled to Waco, Texas for the highly competitive Baylor Fall Tournament where they all played in the top-tier A flight, and posted excellent results.
Cirstea knocked off the fourth seeded player in the 64-man tournament, Texas Tech's Gonzalo Escobar in three sets, 6-2, 0-6, 6-1 in the opening round. Equally as impressive, Joitoiu earned a first-round win over the tournament's seventh seeded player, Alexey Grigorov of Texas A&M, 6-2, 6-3. Lachlan Reed also found himself in the round of 32 after beating Texas A&M's John Lewis, 7-6, 0-6, 6-1.
"Lachlan and Alex had wins over players from No. 10 Texas A&M, with Alex's opponent Grigorov being the former No. 5 junior player in the world," Idaho men's tennis coach Jeff Beaman said. "Marius beat the No. 4 seed in the tournament from No. 15 Texas Tech, and has shown if he can keep his head together and improve a few small things in his game he can beat anybody in college tennis."
Bendeck was the only Vandal to not advance to the round of 32 in the tournament, narrowly missing a first-round victory with a 6-7, 7-5, 4-6 loss. Bendeck won his first two matches in the consolation round, beating Szymon Tatarczyk of Purdue and Daniel Sanchez of TCU.
"For Jose this was an extremely tough event to kick off his college career but with his wins over Tatarczyk from Purdue who was as high as No. 63 in the world ITF junior rankings and Daniel Sanchez from TCU, I am really excited about his potential once he gets in better shape and back to being match tough," Beaman said.
Bendeck and Reed teamed up to compete in the doubles bracket, as well as Cirstea and Joitoiu, but both duos suffered 8-4 losses in the opening round.
"The Baylor fall tournament is one of the premier events of the fall, many of the teams that send players are top 30 programs," Beaman said. "Our guys need to play the top guys in the nation to see where we want to be. We did this with all four players playing in the top A flight for singles and we had some really good results which shows we are starting to get to the level that we will be able to compete with the top teams in the nation."
In Cheney, Wash., Idaho junior Alan Shin reigned supreme, winning the men's singles A flight with five consecutive victories. Shin was the No. 2 seeded player in the tournament, and clinched the win with a victory over third seeded Bryan Thorp from the University of Portland. Kevin Lee advanced to the round of 16 for Idaho with an opening round win over Gonzaga's Scott Sullivan.
Abid Akbar advanced to the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket after a 6-4, 6-2 win over Gonzaga's Pablo Perez.
On the doubles side, two out of three Idaho doubles teams won their first-round matchup, as Shin and Andrew Dobbs beat Patrick Boorkman and Simon Meske of Seattle University, 8-4, and Lee and Akbar beat Montana's Josh Smith and Andrew Warren 8-2. Jake Knox and Sam Lyons fell in the opening round of doubles action for the Vandals.
The Vandals will be back in action Oct. 8-10 at the Boise State fall invitational in Boise, Idaho.