By Matt Bradshaw —
Men’s tennis started out its 2019 season by taking a trip to Honolulu and facing the University of Hawaii. The team of ten performed 6-1 last week for a solid victory over the Rainbow Warriors.
U of L last traveled to Hawaii back in 2015 when the Cardinals finished with a 23-9 record. Following a 15-11 overall performance in 2018, head coach Rex Ecarma says traveling to compete in the Hawaii Invitational is an essential aspect of forming his squad.
“Taking the team on a trip like this in the past helped foster a sense of unity and brotherhood that lasted throughout the season. My former players still talk about their trip to Oahu,” Ecarma said. “But it is also important for us to get a lot of matches and play outdoor tennis since the National Kick-Off Tournament is outdoors in Gainesville. This is important.”
Four freshman join six returners on this year’s roster that spent nine weeks in the national rankings last season. Senior Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff leads the Cards as the third player in program history to have played both singles and doubles at the NCAA Championships.
Louisville picked up eight wins on the first day of Hawaiian competition as Ecarma’s group found its footing in the unfamiliar environment.
“On day one of this Invitational, the players are just getting the winter break rust off,” Ecarma said. “They are also working to get the feel of the ball in these outdoor island conditions. The main thing is getting control of the ball and putting it in the right spots.”
The final days of play saw the Cards sweep all doubles matches and drop only one singles contest. Freshman Alex Wesbrooks, Fabien Salle, Sergio Ramirez and David Mizrahi each picked up their first collegiate victories.
The Cardinals return stateside for their home opener against Butler on Friday, Jan 18 at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center.
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Photo Courtesy / The Louisville Cardinal