The NC State men’s tennis team started its 2020 duals with a home sweep over Elon and USC Upstate at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center on Saturday. Both matches went 7-0 in favor of the Pack (2-0), a dominant start to a promising season.
“We had some guys pick up dual match wins that are their career first for the Wolfpack,” said head coach Kyle Spencer. “It’s an awesome feeling to be able to win your first match and I think those guys will be feeling really good tonight about their performance. Overall, it was a long day, but two really quality teams and super excited to get the season started.”
The 11 a.m. match against Elon (0-1) started smoothly with 6-1 and 6-2 doubles wins by senior Alexis Galarneau and junior Robert Turzak, and sophomore Rafa Izquierdo Luque and junior Colin Shick. The No. 32 pair of junior Tadas Babelis and sophomore Yannai Barkai was down 4-3 when play stopped.
“This was my first double since I came here two years ago,” Turzak said. “I haven’t played doubles for a while. I was playing with Alexis Galarneau, who is obviously a really good player, it’s pretty easy to play with him.”
All six singles matches were decided in two straight sets, won by Galarneau, Turzak, Luque, Barkai, Babelis and freshman Martins Rocens. The most dominating were by Barkai and Rocens, who won 6-2, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively.
“Alexis, as always, did a fantastic job,” Spencer said. “The guy came out hot and Alexis weathered the storm and got through it and basically, up and down the lineup, guys were ready to play.”
In the later match, Galarneau and Turzak got the scoring started with a 6-0 double victory on court one. This was followed up by a win by Luque and Shick to secure the doubles point for the Wolfpack. Rocens and redshirt sophomore Joseph Schrader were up 5-2 when play was paused.
Singles went just about the same as the morning match with some closer matches. Barkai quickly won 6-0, 6-2 while Turzak and Rocens had hard, grueling matches. Rocens won 6-4, 6-4 and Turzak squeaked out a 7-5, 6-4 win. Meanwhile, freshman Robin Catry made a statement on court four with a 6-0, 6-2 victory and Schrader won convincingly 6-1, 6-4.
“Second match in a row where I saw the guys around finishing their matches pretty quickly,” Turzak said. “I got two really good guys today so that was the reason why the matches took so long, but its really good to have those matches in the beginning of the season so we get the right tempo before we travel to Michigan on Tuesday.”
In the final match, Shick won a close first set 7-6 and carried the momentum into the second set 6-2, so NC State wrapped up a 7-0 win for the second time on Saturday.
“We finished strong,” Spencer said. “Upstate gave us a good battle, even into the last match so super excited about that. Super excited our diligence to stay focused during a long day. Really looking forward for the season to keep progressing.”
NC State men’s tennis will be back in action in Ann Arbor, Michigan against on Wednesday, Jan. 15 against Michigan. Then, on Friday, Jan. 17, it will travel to Illinois to face Northwestern at 6 p.m.