– The New Orleans Privateers men’s tennis team will receive a stern test in their penultimate tournament when they head to Tallahassee to participate in the Florida State Spring Invitational. The tournament starts Saturday and spans over two days.
The Privateers’ first match in the eight-team bracket will be against the host Seminoles who ended last year ranked 13th in the country. In the first release of the ITA rankings for 2019, Florida State checks in at 20th. The match is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“I think it’s a good start to gauge ourselves and how well we can compete,” said Coach Burzis Kanga. “They’re looking forward to this challenge and it’s going to be a good weekend. We’re trying some new doubles combinations and changing things up.” Mats/Mikhail (1), Odie/Nick (2), Sam/Johannes (3)
In the fall, New Orleans played in two tournaments. The Privateers breezed through the Scramble on the Bayou by handily defeating Jackson State, Prairie View A&M, and Nicholls. In the West Florida Invitational, the Privateers had some strong performances from their contingent of newcomers (four total).
Odysseas Papaioannou won his first collegiate tournament by winning the flight three championship. Mats Westkamp and Misha Fomenkov made it to the finals of their respective flights and returning sophomore, Johannes Klein had a semifinal appearance in singles.
The tournament is one of two the Privateers will play in the buildup to their dual match schedule. The Privateers will also participate in the Jerry Simmons Invitational hosted by LSU. The dual slate begins on Feb. 1 at Alcorn State.
“What we are trying to do is compete against some of the best teams,” said Coach Kanga. “We have a very good schedule this year. I do think we have the caliber of players who can compete well. We’re starting off with a very strong schedule and we’re looking forward to this challenge.”
New Orleans is joined in this tournament by Florida State, UAB, Florida A&M, North Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Florida Atlantic. The winner of the Privateers-Seminoles match will take on the winner of UAB-Florida A&M on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The losers of those two matches will face off in the consolation bracket at the same time.
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