Story first appeared in the Feb. 26, 2015 edition of the Edinboro University Spectator.
Normally it is the veterans who lead the way on a team.
On Saturday it was the underclassmen who rose to the occasion for the Edinboro men’s tennis team, but unfortunately their efforts were not enough.
Edinboro (1-2) fell to West Liberty, 5-4, in the Scots’ spring season opener at the Westwood Racquet Club in Erie.
The freshman trio of Vitor Albanese, Daniel Galimany and Anmol Sandhu all were victorious in their respective singles matches and Sandhu teamed with senior Juan Estepa to earn the only doubles win for Boro in the match.
The rest of the team, mostly upperclassmen, failed to win Saturday night, which surprised head coach Lee Underwood.
“It’s just disappointing that all my returning players in my lineup didn’t get one single win for us,” Underwood said in a phone interview Sunday afternoon. “I had three returning players, my one, two and four in singles, all three of them lost. That’s three all-conference players, all lost.”
The Scots were down 2-1 early as the doubles competition was first. Estepa and Sandhu cruised to an 8-1 victory, but Bruno Borja and Galimany lost a close 9-8 set that went to a tiebreaker.
The squads split the singles competition 3-3, with Edinboro winning number five and six singles. Also, Albanese won in straight sets in number three singles.
Despite the win, it wasn’t easy for Galimany at the beginning.
“Galimany played very nervous,” Underwood said. “He couldn’t put a ball in the first set. He was down 3-0, but came back and I think that builds confidence…He just was so nervous, but he overcame that.”
His classmate, Albanese, had the polar opposite debut as a Fighting Scot.
“Vitor was a beast out there,” Underwood admitted. “He was a beast. The other guy was trying to hit big shots and Vitor kept getting the ball back in play. He took the guy’s offense and turned him into playing defense. It was a really good match.”
Despite the loss, Underwood still has positive thoughts for the future.
“I’m not deterred by this,” he said. “I still think we have the skill set to win a region.”
The men have a busy weekend as they host Lake Superior State Friday at noon and visit Le Moyne College on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The women’s tennis team hosts Lake Superior State as well on Friday at noon and visit Le Moyne College at 3:30 p.m.
West Liberty (3-0) 5 Edinboro (1-2) 4
Andrew Ponder (WLU) def. Matias Aignasse (EUP) 7-6 (10), 6-3
Santiago Gutierrez (WLU) def. Bruno Borja (EUP) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
Vitor Albanese (EUP) def. Baptiste Perrin (WLU) 7-5, 6-3
Martin Moncayo (WLU) def. Juan Estepa (EUP) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Daniel Galimany (EUP) def. Pablo Cimorra (WLU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Anmol Sandhu (EUP) def. Luke Flanagan (WLU) 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (0)
Andrew Ponder/Santiago Gutierrez (WLU) def. Matias Aignasse/Vitor Albanese (EUP) 8-5
Martin Moncayo/Baptiste Perrin (WLU) def. Bruno Borja/Daniel Galimany (EUP) 9-8 (4)
Juan Estepa/Anmol Sandhu (EUP) def. Pablo Cimorra/Matt Tully (WLU) 8-1