The 15th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team secured a victory in its opening match of the 2013 dual-match season by downing Hawai'i, 6-1, on Saturday at the UH Tennis Complex.
"I thought today was a great start to the season for us," head coach Matt Knoll said. "I thought as a group we didn't execute as well as we would have liked, but I think that is a function of it being the first match. Those are things we will cleanup and do better."
Baylor (1-0) got out to a perfect start vs. Hawai'i (0-2) with all three doubles teams claiming victories. Tony Lupieiri and Robert Verzaal dispatched of Chris Meyer and Nils Schuhmann, 8-3, at No. 3 doubles to open the match. At the No. 2 spot, Patrick Pradella and Marko Krickovic took care of Jared Spiker and David Schuster, 8-3, to clinch the doubles point for BU. With the point in hand, Mate Zsiga and Diego Galeano got past Jonathan Brooklyn and Dmytro Kovalyov, 8-6, at the No. 1 position to sweep the point.
"All three of our doubles team did a nice job," Knoll said. "We started off slow in those matches, but they did a great job to get through that and close strong."
Baylor's two players who joined the team at the start of January had an integral part in the season-opening win. Pradella opened the singles scoring with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Kovalyov at the No. 2 position. Lupieri then put the Bears on the brink of victory by dropping Chas Okamoto, 6-2, 6-3, at the fourth spot.
"Our new guys did great," Knoll said. "They handled the situation as well as would could have expected. As we had hoped, they are mature and well put together."
Baylor's two ranked players would provide the next two points. The 50th-ranked Krickovic clinched the contest for BU with a 6-2, 6-2 victory at the No. 3 spot over Spiker. No. 1 singles player and 60th-ranked Zsiga then pushed the margin to 5-0 as he beat Brooklyn, 6-3, 6-2.
Hawai'i got its lone point of the match as Schuhmann took down Verzaal, 6-1, 6-4, at the bottom of the lineup.
In his first match since sustaining an injury in May, Galeano closed out the match for Baylor with a three-set win over Danilo Casanova, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) at No. 5 singles.
"It was great for Diego to play a match, after not playing since May," Knoll said. "He was a little spotty at times, but he competed really hard and did a good job getting the win."
After spending almost a week in Hawai'i, Baylor will return to the mainland on Sunday in preparation for the start of spring semester classes on Monday.
"This week has been really valuable for us," Knoll said. "The training and bonding we get on these preseason trips is priceless. I think it has been a really super week for us."
Baylor improved to 2-0 all-time vs. Hawai'i with the win. The Bears have won 12-straight spring dual-match openers dating back to a 2001 loss. Under Knoll, Baylor is 15-2 to start the season and overall in program history the Bears are 28-16. During the month of January, the Bears have produced a 32-7 record under Knoll.
Select BU players will now compete in the Sherwood Collegiate Cup, Jan. 18-21, in Los Angeles, Calif. Baylor's next dual-match will be on Jan. 25 vs. SMU at 7 p.m. The contest against the Mustangs will be contested in the Jim and Nell Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center as part of the facility's grand opening.