Coming off their season opening loss against No. 2 ranked Wake Forest, the Bucs faced Alabama on Jan. 16, coming up empty on the road, 4-2.
Much like in the fall, the younger players on the Bucs’ team are still experiencing learning curves that are keeping them from reaching their full potential.
“I try to explain to the guys experience is nice, but they have played tennis long enough to win matches no matter who we play,” said Head Coach Yaser Zaatini. “We need to buckle down. There’s no excuse for youth. Young guys need to get with the program.”
Of the six singles matches played during the matchup, the Bucs won only two, with Robert Herrera (Barcelona, Spain) winning all three sets and defeating Alabama’s Alexey Nesterov (Moscow, Russia).
The other singles winner was David Gonzalez (Barcelona, Spain) who defeated Ritchie Kruunenberg (Nieuw-Vennep, Netherlands) in two sets with scores of 6-3 and 6-4.
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, their two highest ranked singles players, No. 43 David Biosca (Sant Fruitos de Bage, Spain) and No.65 Diego Nunez (Monterrey, Mexico), weren’t able to win their singles matches against ranked opponents.
In the doubles, the Bucs were only able to win one of their three matches.
That one win came from Robert Herrera and Diego Nunez, who pulled off a victory over No. 32 ranked pair sophomore Mazen Osam (Cairo, Egypt) and Spencer Richey (Memphis, TN) with a score of 7-5.
“It was a pretty solid win for Robert and Diego, but we needed the others doubles matches to win,” Zaatini said.
However, the Bucs needed two more doubles wins to take the win over Alabama.
Robert Herrera is in the position to have a breakout year for the Bucs.
“I would say Robert is who is can have a breakout season because David is consistently good,” Zaatini said. “ Robert is a quiet assassin. He has experience and understands the role he is in this season.”
The Bucs don’t have much time to improve as they place in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association men’s kickoff weekend Jan. 27-29th against great competition.
It features No. 7 ranked USC, No. 22 ranked San Diego and Virginia Tech.
“We need to get better quick; doesn’t matter if Robert and David are winning solo matches if we can’t close out doubles,” Zaatini said.