No. 75 Privateer Men's Tennis Hosting Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana-Lafayette This Week
NEW ORLEANS - The University of New Orleans men's tennis team will host a pair of Pelican State rivals as Southeastern La. on Wednesday at 2 p.m. and Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday at 12 p.m. will come to the University Tennis Center this week.
UNO (6-1) suffered their first setback of the season in their most recent outing, a 6-1 loss to No. 46 SMU in Dallas. Head coach Burzis Kanga's squad, which entered the rankings at No. 75 after their season-opening win against No. 59 South Alabama, have maintained the ranking for the last three weeks.
Undefeated at home, the Privateers are 2-0 at the UTC and will look forward to returning to the friendly confines after a busy three match, three day trip to Texas last weekend.
Play at the bottom of the lineup has been the difference for the UNO men, who have a 19-2 record in dual play in the bottom three spots. Oliver Cuthill has won six straight matches at the No. 6 singles spot, prevailing in straight sets each time.
Jose Gaspar, primarily at No. 5 had won the previous five matches before having his streak snapped against SMU. Amongst Gaspar's win was the match-deciding victory at UT-Arlington on Saturday. Ben Smith rounds out the group with an unblemished 4-0 mark at No. 4 singles with a lone loss in his lone appearance at No. 5.
Regaining stability at the top will be the difference this week. Calvin Kemp and Vinay Kamineni entered the final two matches of the weekend with matching 5-0 marks. Kemp at No. 1 split two matches while Kamineni, who had health problems throughout the weekend, lost both matches at No. 2.
SLU (1-1) opened the season with a loss to Memphis on Jan. 30 before bouncing back with a 7-0 victory against Murray State on Jan. 31.
Julien Roussel has posted the only unblemished mark on the season for the Lions, going 2-0 this season at No. 2 singles. Roussel defeated Leon Nasemann of Memphis in straight sets before winning a super-tiebreaker against Renaldo Domorey of MSU.
The meeting between SLU and UNO is the 15th since 1996 with the Privateers holding a 12-2 edge in the series over the time span. The Lions won the last meeting on Feb. 22, 2005 in Hammond, La. to break a 12-match win streak for UNO.
ULL enters the weekend 1-0 and will host both Southern and Alcorn State on Friday before making their way to the Crescent City for Saturday's dual.
Posting a 7-12 mark a year ago, the Ragin' Cajuns went 1-7 away from their home courts. ULL does hold a historic edge over the Privateers, winning 26 of the 30 duals in meetings between the squads. The four victories for UNO all came in 2002 and 2003 with the Ragin' Cajuns currently on a three-match win streak.
The top returning player on the squad is Piotrek Banas, 7-3 a year ago including a 3-0 mark at No. 2 singles, Banas was a striaght-set winner in the team's only dual entering the weekend against Grambling.
This past fall, UNO took part in the ULL Invitational this fall with the only encounter coming in the Flight C singles' quarterfinals where ULL's Arlen Domoney defeated Gaspar 6-3, 6-3.
Next week, the Privateers will make the short trip to Hattiesburg, Miss. on Tuesday, Feb. 17 to face Southern Miss before hosting Samford on Saturday, Feb. 20 on the Lakefront.