Men’s tennis stays strong against top-notch opponents

Wrapping up their first month of competition, the men’s tennis team looks to keep their good momentum going.

With the Panthers ranked 60th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association at the start of the season, head coach Joerg Barthel had only positive things to say about his team.

Graham Robson | The Signal
Brazil native Victor Valente has led the team throughout the season on his senior year.

“As coaches, we are extremely happy with where we are at the moment,” Barthel said. “Our group of guys is working hard to improve aspects of their games and have had some significant success so far.”

It is Coach Barthel’s first year as head coach of the Men’s Tennis Team, and he believes the competitive nature of the team is the key behind the team’s improvement.

“Competing every single day is my biggest approach and we have certainly been doing well in that regard,” Barthel said. “As a group we are fairly even and I think this will be our strength as the season continues.”

When asked about senior Victor Valente who won the singles title earlier in the season at the Georgia Southern Championships, Barthel praised his performance on and off the court.

“I am extremely excited to have Victor on board,” Barthel said. “He and Lucas [Santa Ana] are our leaders. Victor is playing some of his best tennis right now and will continue to get better. As a student-athlete, he is probably a perfect combination of bringing his school work and tennis together and he is able to have great success in both.”

Barthel claims that the team as a whole is doing great as well, being sure not to single out one specific member.

The Panthers’ last competition was in from Oct.19 to Oct. 21, where the team earned 10 total victories and Valente made it to the finals in the singles draw.

On doubles, Valente and senior Lucas Santa Ana made it to the quarterfinals.

“The team did very well. We won every single first round we played, singles and doubles,” Barthel said. “This tournament was a huge success for us as a program and a big step in the right direction.”

Yet, Barthel wants the team to keep working hard and keep growing.

“There is always room for progress and especially when you are doing well the margins are getting smaller,” Barthel said. “However, we as coaches have a good idea where we need to continue to improve on and will keep working hard in all areas.”

The team will close its fall plat at the Winthrop Invitational, from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4 at Rock Hill, S.C.