By Briana Oldham
The men’s tennis team wrapped up their season and had quite a few highlights along the way.
Fall is slightly different since the focus of this semester was more on individual performances. This provides the members of the team with an opportunity to gain extra experience until the team versus team play begins in the spring season.
Individual play also determines what doubles teams will play together and helps the lineup take shape for the coming season which begins in January.
This season was complete with trips to the West Coast in addition to the Viking Invitational. Head coach Brian Etzkin, with a 17-season track record, was thrilled to be able to take some of the players to tournaments that they don’t usually go to. Though the fall season is geared toward individuals, the entire team got to travel to some of the key tournaments out of town.
It was the Oracle ITA Masters that started the season in Malibu, California. Here, the player of the year from every conference in Division I got to compete. That player for the Vikings was Nico Mostardi. Mostardi, a junior, has been playing tennis since he was two-years-old. His father played professionally and was instrumental in his early start. While his individual record this season of 5-1, placed him at the top of the team, his mind set is still very much team oriented. Mostardi believes it’s exciting to have individual success but is more worried about the spring season.
“We are here to represent the school and focus on the success as a team,” Mostardi said.
The Milwaukee Tennis Classic in Wisconsin, ITA All-American Championship in Oklahoma, and the Rocket Invitational in Toledo also showcased top talent in Matthew Terry. Terry boasted a record of 5-2 and prefers singles because he likes to be in control to adjust more easily.
Etzkin spoke highly of the young men involved in the Purdue Invitational in Indiana as well. He observed that Clark Bilinovich, who finished 4-0 at the tournament, played in front and really overpowered his opponent.
At the ITA Midwest Regional, also in Indiana, Terry and Mostardi saw success as they prepared to head into the final tournament of the season. The Viking Invitational brought everyone back to Cleveland State where Benjamin Slade and Mostardi were the standouts in doubles play finishing 4-0. The Vikings also posted a perfect 4-0 singles record.
Etzkin seems to enjoy coaching the Vikings.
“CSU was just going to be a stepping stone for me, but it has become a great place to be competitive and have a great career at,” Etzkin said.
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