In a back-and-forth outing for the 49ers, Charlotte fell short in their battle against the University of South Carolina (USC) Gamecocks, losing 7-0, before offering an intense 7-0 comeback in their rout of the Citadel Bulldogs on Friday, Jan. 20.
Against the Gamecocks
Starting the day with doubles battling USC, Charlotte fell flat against the Gamecocks. First, the pair of redshirt sophomore Coy Simon and sophomore Vasco Prata lost 6-1, quickly followed by the freshman pair of Matias Iturbe and Ivan Dreycopp 6-2.
The struggles continued in singles play. Prata could not withstand the efforts of Gamecock Connor Thompson in a 6-2, 5-0 loss. Of the six singles matches, only Simon and Iturbe led in a set against USC. Simon got ahead 5-7 to win the second set in his fight, while Iturbe led the opening salvo against his opponent. Ultimately, both would lose in the end.
Against The Citadel
For doubles, Charlotte started strong with a defeat of the Bulldogs’ forces. Senior Abhimanyu Vannemreddy and Aditya Narayanan took down their opponents 6-3, putting the 49ers up.
However, a Bulldog victory against Iturbe and Dreycop blunted the success. They performed well, going 6-4 and losing by two, but The Citadel’s Sebastian Kamieniecki and Zvonko Bencedic were too strong.
Charlotte came back with a finishing blow by Simon and Prata. They beat the Bulldogs 7-6, breaking a tie in their fight to give Charlotte the victory in doubles.
Charlotte performed exemplary in singles, speeding ahead of the competition and prevailing in every singles match.
Iturbe led the 49ers’ campaign with a decisive victory, winning 6-0 in the first set and 6-1 in the second – a compelling showing for a true freshman on the team. Sophomore Brett Gloria added to the success with a 6-0, 6-3 victory to give Charlotte a healthy lead.
Next to finish was Narayanan, who faced similar opposition as Gloria but held firm. Finally, with his 6-2 and 6-1 victories over The Citadel, Narayanan clinched the match for Charlotte.
The 49ers’ continued to win with Dreycopp in another 6-1 and 6-2 outing. However, the last two matches saw the Bulldogs give their best effort. Simon fought three sets against Hayden Shoemake before coming out ahead, winning the first set 6-0 but losing 6-4 in the second set. Another 6-0 performance earned him the victory.
Vannemreddy faced the last opponent of the day, Bencedic, who was one of the two Bulldogs to have won in Doubles. The first set was taken by Vannemreddy 6-2, but after warming up, Bencedic came back fiercely. The second set went to a tiebreaker, with The Citadel taking it 9-7.
The intense battle came to a close as Vannemreddy surged forward in the third set, earning a 6-2 win that completed the sturdy performance of the 49ers.
The loss against USC gives some promise because they sit at No. 9, making them a formidable opponent to fight, let alone beat.
The capable performance of freshman Iturbe highlighted both matches of the day. As one of the two people to go up in a fight with the Gamecocks and having won his battle against The Citadel convincingly, the signs are present for him to be a solid addition to the Charlotte lineup.
Charlotte takes on the University of Oklahoma on Friday, Jan. 27, and either the University of Tennessee or the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, on Jan. 28, at the upcoming ITA Kickoff Weekend in Knoxville, Tenn. The match is available to watch on Playsight.