With the Southern Intercollegiate hosted by the University of Georgia starting earlier than usual, the Bucs did not have much time to prepare for the tournament, especially the hot conditions. In fact, of all the teams that competed, the Bucs were one of the few to have all its players finish every match.
Heat and injury caused many matches to be retired early.
“It was good,” head coach Martin Stiegwardt said. “We only practiced a few days, but I thought everyone played well.”
On the last day of the Southern Intercollegiate, the Bucs only had one pair of doubles compete. The pair is made up of David Gonzalez (Barcelona, Spain) and Sergi Fontcuberta (Barcelona, Spain). Though the pair lost 6-8, the score continued to show improvement from a season ago.
In singles play, the Bucs did not get as far as they hoped but have an opportunity every month through different tournaments until the regular season starts in January.
“The returning guys know what I expected, and we still have new guys getting used to practices,” Stiegwardt said. “Doubles has gotten better.”
One thing Stiegwardt was very pleased about was having older guys’ help the new guys as they get ready for this upcoming season. His priority before the new season officially begins is to build on his team’s fitness level as well as getting his new guys prepared for what they aren’t used to.
As a team, the Bucs return a majority of their players, only losing one player to graduation.
Gonzalez and Fontcuberta are the only seniors on this year’s team but are exactly what the Bucs need.
The two return with a lot of experience and most importantly had a combined 32-7 record as juniors in singles.
The pair also recorded a 7-0 record in doubles together, and with an exciting 2018-19 season ahead, they are ready for more.