ANDERSON, S.C. – Coming off its second setback of the season on Monday, Anderson University men’s tennis looks to follow a win with a loss for the second time this season as it welcomes USC Aiken to Max Grubbs Memorial Courts on Wednesday. First serve is set for 2 p.m.
After posting a 6-3 win over South Atlantic Conference opponent Newberry on Feb. 8, the Trojans dropped to nationally ranked Lander on Monday, moving AU to 1-2 on the season. The 1-2 start matches AU’s starting record from a season ago, as the Trojans eventually closed the 2013 year with a 10-6 overall record.
The lone bright spot for the Black & Gold against the Bearcats was sophomore Tomas Passalacqua who claimed a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Samuel Poutignat at No. 3 singles. Passalacqua currently holds the best singles record on the team at 2-1.
The freshmen doubles team of Juan Carracedo and Mateo Rivas, who came into the season ranked No. 4 in the ITA Southeast Region Poll and named to the All-SAC Second Team, are 1-2 on the young season with their lone win coming against Newberry’s Michael Saunders and Vinicius Botelho.
USC Aiken comes into the mid-week contest with a 2-1 record, kicking off the season with back-to-back triumphs over Valdosta State (5-4) and Belmont Abbey (9-0). Most recently, the Pacers dropped their first match of the season to Georgia Gwinnett, 9-0. Prior to its trip to Anderson, USC Aiken had two matches washed away due to the inclement weather throughout the Carolinas as meetings with SAC opponents Newberry and Coker were not played.
Junior Ettore Damiani leads the Pacers, as he has competed at the No. 1 singles position and the No. 2 doubles spot alongside senior Lucas Gobbi. The tandem is 2-1 in doubles for the season as Damiani is 1-2 at the No. 1 singles spot. Gobbi, who has seen action at No. 4 and No. 5, is 2-1 in singles action.
In 2013, the Pacers finished 11-9 overall and 4-6 in the Peach Belt Conference, which placed them seventh. Despite the record, USC Aiken advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Columbus State, 5-1, ending its tournament campaign.
Wednesday’s matchup marks the first meeting between Anderson and USC Aiken since the 2011 season when AU captured a 5-3 win over its in-state rival in Aiken. Prior to that season, the Trojans defeated the Pacers by an identical score in the 2010 season.