The 5-0 Vandal men’s tennis team is looking to continue an undefeated season in Utah Saturday with a double-header against Utah State followed by Weber State later that evening.
In the last five matches, the Vandals have proved to be a very well-rounded team. Abid Akbar and Marius Cirstea are yet to lose at the No.1 doubles spot this year. Even when Akbar isn’t at his best in doubles, Cesar Torres has proven that he can show his dominance in both singles and doubles play like he did in the Nevada match, winning in both the No. 3 doubles and No. 4 singles matches to give Idaho the win.
Torres also played at No. 2 singles in a match win and shutout of Whitworth. That same day against Gonzaga, Cristobal Ramos Salazar and Jose Bendeck were losing 1-4 in doubles but came back to earn the doubles point and give Idaho win number five.
“We’re probably going to go with a similar lineup to what we played against Gonzaga, but the plan is to do some experimentation with our doubles and switch it up a little bit,” Idaho coach Jeff Beaman said.
Dmitry Perevoshchikov is undefeated in singles play, serving as the go-to guy at No. 2 singles but also switching off with Akbar in the No. 1 spot. Perevoshchikov fought off a three-set match in the No. 1 singles spot against Gonzaga to get a win despite injuring his foot.
Beaman said Perevoshchikov is healthy and will play in Utah this weekend.
“We’re planning on putting him out there. He deals with pain really well. Until we know what the exact situation is, its critical to have him in the lineup. As long as he can stand on it we’re going to keep putting him out there,” Beaman said
Utah State has been struggling this season with a record of 2-7, but they do have one secret weapon. Matt Sweet was named WAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week after a nearly undefeated week for the Aggies. He is the first men’s tennis player to receive the honor this spring.
“We look at the matchups. He’s definitely on a hot streak. I feel like if we show up we will be able to match up head-to-head,” Beaman said.
The Vandals are 5-0, but they have not yet faced 8-0 Oregon, Boise State — who defeated No. 44 ranked Minnesota, and Denver, who is ranked No. 35.
“I’m proud of what the guys have done. We do need to continue with everyone showing up at all times. The wins are good accomplishments, but we’re going to start facing stronger teams,” Beaman said. “If we have the let-downs like going down 1-4 against Gonzaga in the doubles, you can’t open the door, and when you play better teams you can’t fight back every time.”
The Vandals will be in Logan, Utah, at 8:30 a.m Saturday, followed by a match against Weber State at 5 p.m.
Weber State is 1-4 on the season, and is coming off a 6-1 loss to No. 36 Santa Clara.
Aaron Wolfe can be reached at email@example.com