Oct. 24, 2011
By Tyler Wooten
TULSA, Okla. -- The Saluki Men's Tennis team took victories away from Oklahoma State and Nebraska on its way to the Round of 16 in both the singles and doubles main draws to close out their fall season at the ITA Regional in Tulsa, Okla. this past weekend.
Sophomore Jorge Cavero bested the 77th-ranked player in the nation and No. 9 overall seed in the tournament in the first round of the singles main draw, defeating Oklahoma State's Maniel Bains 7-6 (5), 6-1. Cavero took down Oral Roberts' Parker Allen, 6-1, 6-1, in the second round before succumbing to eventual quarter-finalist Chris Hayworth from Oklahoma State, 1-6, 1-6, in the Round of 16.
"Jorge played great against (Bains) and took control of the match after being down," head coach Dann Nelson said. "He really dug in and started to claw his way back into the match."
Due to an injury to freshman Szymon Opieczonek, the Salukis were forced to fill his doubles spot with fellow freshman Martijn Admiraal. But, the Salukis didn't miss a beat. Admiraal, paired with junior Brandon Florez, defeated MVC conference foes Wichita State in the opening round of the doubles main draw, and in the second round the Saluki duo defeated the Nebraska pair of Robert Schulze and Andre Stenger in a tiebreak match, 9-8 (4). Admiraal and Florez lost in the next round to the eventual finalist duo from Tulsa of Clifford Marsland and Ashley Watling, who are nationally ranked fourth.
"Even though they had never played together, they quickly meshed together," Nelson said. "I could not be happier with the way Martijn and Brandon stepped up."
This is the second year in a row that SIU has advanced a player to the Round of 16 in the singles main draw after Adam Fabik did as a freshman last season. Also, this is the furthest a Saluki doubles duo has advanced in the main draw since 2009 when Eric West and Anton Leonenko made it to the quarterfinals.
"We have steadily improved as a team this fall," Nelson said. "This group of guys push each other and are committed to getting better everyday."
Saluki Men's Tennis will begin its spring season at the MVC Individual Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa, from January 20-22.