By Riley Vance —
Men’s tennis (15-12) hosted its last home match of the season against No.9 North Carolina (17-5, 9-3 ACC) for Senior Day, but suffered a 4-0 loss. Louisville ends the season with a 3-9 conference record before heading into the ACC Championship.
Five seniors were honored before the match, highlighting their careers as Cardinals. The five included Federico “Fede” Gomez, Clement Filho, George Hedley, Brandon Lancaster and Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff. All played on the team for different amounts of time, but were equally impactful to the program.
“First of all, before these five seniors are tennis players, they’re good people,” head coach Rex Ecarma said. “Those guys have never got in trouble off the court, they’re good students, and good people with good families. They should be proud, the University should be proud of them. They’ve also done their fair share of winning. Those guys are winners off the court and on the court.”
Fede hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and transferred to the University of Louisville his junior year from Miami ASA Junior College. As a junior he was ranked third on the team with 22 overall singles wins. Along with his doubles partner Brandon Lancaster, the duo held a 6-5 record at No. 2 doubles in dual match action. Fede won the B singles flight of the Louisville Fall Invitational as well as the Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch singles consolation title. With doubles partner George Hedley, the two earned the Commodore Scramble doubles title along with reaching the B doubles championship match of the Louisville Fall Invitational. They appeared twice in the ITA doubles rankings at No. 46 and No. 52, finishing the season at No. 12 in the Ohio Valley Regional rankings.
During his senior year, Gomez faced a foot injury in the fall as well another injury in the spring to his hamstring. Along with doubles partner Fabien Salle, Gomez was a runner-up in the Louisville Fall Invitational. He finished the 2018-2019 season with a 12-3 overall singles record and a 9-7 overall doubles record.
Hailing from Paris, France, Clement spent three years on the Louisville men’s tennis team. During his first year, Filho held a 24-18 overall singles record, including a 5-0 singles record in the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational. He was also a runner-up in the consolation draw of the CCB Clay Court Invitational. Filho was placed on the ACC Academic Honor Roll twice during his time at U of L.
During his sophomore year, Clement gained ten overall singles wins which included Notre Dame, Northwestern, Middle Tennessee, Florida and UCF. This fall, Filho managed a 7-6 overall singles record with wins over Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Chattanooga, Wright State, Memphis, Florida Gulf Coast and Kentucky. He paired up with Fabien Salle and Alex Wesbrooks to earn five doubles victories.
George has spent all four years with the Cards and hails from Berkshire, England. He was named to the ACC honor roll every year and was named to the Athletic Director’s honor roll in the fall and spring of his first year. Some notable points from his career at U of L include a 18-19 overall singles record his freshman year, putting him at second against other players on the team. He held a five-match win streak in the spring, along with clinching the win against Tennessee Tech. At the end of the season, he earned a team-best 25-15 doubles record.
During his sophomore year, George held a 19-17 overall singles record and an 18-18 overall doubles record. He was also named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Rolling into his junior year, Hedley held a 19-16 overall singles record, clinching a 5-2 upset win over No. 18 Duke. He finished third on the team with a 22-12 overall doubles record along with being named to the ACC All-Academic Team.
In the fall of his senior year, he overcame a wrist injury and still managed a 6-5 record in singles. Hedley teamed with Brandon Lancaster for a 5-1 doubles mark. The duo also won the Vanderbilt Commodore Scramble title, finishing the fall season at No. 34 in the ITA doubles rankings.
“George is a unique person in every way,” Ecarma said. “On the tennis court, he can win points in a variety of ways, which makes watching and coaching him fun. He has a one-of-a-kind personality and getting to know him was quite a treat.”
Brandon also spent all four years on the team and hails from Louisville. As a freshman, Brandon held a team-best 23-14 overall singles record, playing mostly at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. He made it to the ITA Ohio Valley Regional quarterfinals in singles along with being named the Commodore Scramble Champion with a 4-0 record in the tournament. During his sophomore year, he had the second most singles wins on the team at 31.
During his junior year, Lancaster tied for fourth on the team with 19 singles wins, playing at No. 5 mostly. He won the A1 Singles consolation draw at the Duke Bonk Invitational along with earning a career-high 10 doubles wins throughout the season.
He finished off the season with 88 career singles wins and 42 doubles wins, along with being ranked 105th in singles and 34th in doubles with George Hedley. Lancaster was named ACC honor roll twice and ITA Scholar Athlete once during his time as a Cardinal.
Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff, better known as “Chris” or “Koug”, hails from Capbreton, France. He finished his season with 74 career singles wins and 79 career doubles wins. He is a member of the prestigious Cardinal Tennis 50 and 25 Club. He has been ranked as high as No. 36 in singles and No. 6 in doubles nationally. Chris has also been ranked as high as No. 7 in singles in the region. He has been named ACC Co-tennis Player of the Week in 2018 and ACC Student Athlete of the week in the same season.
Kougoucheff won the LIT 2019 singles title along with being a two-time ACC Academic honor roll recipient and three-time ITA Scholar Athlete. Chris has served as team captain for three seasons and is one of three players to ever qualify for both the NCAA singles and doubles tournament. He has been nationally ranked for three seasons and was recently nominated for the Adidas High Performance Male Athlete of the Year.
“Chris has been one of the best captains I’ve had in my 29 years of coaching this program,” Ecarma said.
Louisville men’s tennis travels to Cary, NC to compete in the ACC Championship this Wednesday, April 17th.
You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on Twitter @thecardsports.
Photos by Riley Vance / The Louisville Cardinal