Men's Tennis Set For Road Matches At Drake, Texas Tech
The Utah men's tennis team (7-3) hits the road for the first time in a month this week, heading to Des Moines, Iowa and Lubbock, Texas for a pair of matches. The Utes will first play the Drake Bulldogs (0-1) on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. MT at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. Live stats will be available here, while a live stream is also available.
Utah will then close out the road trip against Texas Tech (3-2) on Sunday, Feb. 28. First serve is set for 10 a.m. MT at the McLeod Tennis Center.
SLAVA SERVIN' IT UP
Senior Slava Shainyan is coming off a team-best 13-2 singles record last year and has carried the momentum over to his super senior year in 2021. Shainyan has a 7-2 record to this point, which includes a 5-0 record on court one. The Moscow, Russia native has claimed notable wins over top singles players from Denver and SMU to lead the Utes. Shainyan is riding a five-match win streak heading into this week's matches and has not lost in singles since Jan. 29.
Utah's top doubles team of Franco Capalbo and Geronimo Busleiman have posted a 7-2 record so far this season in doubles action on court one. The winners of four straight, the Ute pair is coming off a win over the nation's No. 42-ranked duo from Denver. Capalbo and Busleiman have won six of their last seven matches. Coming to Salt Lake City with court experience together, Capalbo and Busleiman were doubles teammates during their junior careers and excelled as partners. The duo reached the semifinals of the Junior French Open and won the Grade 1 ITS in Canada leading up to the U.S. Open. Although the two split for singles play, Capalbo and Busleiman are tied with Slava Shainyan with a team-high seven singles wins to begin the year.
Drake has played just one match so far in the 2021 season, dropping its opener to Northern Illinois 4-3. Oliver Johansson picked up a three-set win at the top spot for the Bulldogs, while Benedek Herman earned a win on court two to lead the team. Drake picked up four wins in the shortened 2020 season, highlighted by victories over Utah State and DePaul. The Bulldogs have a young team, seeing contributions from three redshirt freshmen and three true freshmen. Drake has seen six NCAA appearances in the eight seasons under current head coach Davidson Kozlowski.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech is 3-2 this season with a pair of wins over Abilene Christian, along with a 4-3 win over Wichita State this past Sunday. The Red Raiders dropped matches to LSU and Tulsa before having the next four matches canceled on their schedule. Texas Tech is led by No. 37-ranked Parker Wynn in singles play, No. 93-ranked Ilgiz Valiev, as well as No. 115-ranked Reed Collier on the top three courts in that order. Texas Tech has ranked as high as No. 23 this season in the Oracle/ITA poll.
LAST TIME OUT
The Utes recorded their first home loss of the season, falling 4-3 to Denver. Utah was able to win the doubles point after Luis Flores and Bruno Krenn picked up a 6-4 win, while Geronimo Busleiman and Franco Capalbo beat the No. 42-ranked doubles team in the nation 7-6 (4). Singles play saw five tiebreakers and four three-set matches, but the Utes came up just short of the win. Slava Shainyan recorded a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 10-5 win on court one, while Francisco Bastias psoted a 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4 win on court five to lead Utah in singles play.
Utah tennis has become a destination for international players and this season is no different. The starting singles lineup boasts five international student-athletes, including three hailing from Argentina. Franco Capalbo, Geronimo Espin Busleiman and Francisco Bastias come from Argentina, while Slava Shainyan is from Russia and Mathias Gavelin from Sweden. The Utes have also welcomed graduate transfer Luis Flores who hails from Mexico and freshman Chris Heck, who is from Canada.
ROAD TO 100
Three-time ITA Mountain Region Coach of the Year Roeland Brateanu is in his seventh season as the head coach of Utah. After sweeping Boise State, Brateanu reached 100 career wins at the helm of the program. Brateanu led the Utes to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2018 and 2019, No. 1 overall Mountain Region rankings, along with earning a spot in the final ITA/Oracle rankings in three of the last four seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 campaign). In his six seasons at the helm, he has seen the Utes collect 10 Pac-12 All-Conference selections and seven ITA Mountain Region end of year awards.
Utah will return to the George S. Eccles Tennis Center in Salt Lake City for a doubleheader on Saturday, March 6. Utah will host Montana and Utah State to continue non-conference play.