Overall Record: 15-14 (3-8)
Reached NCAA Round of 32
Key Wins: No. 23 LSU, No. 21 Oklahoma State
Tough Losses: No. 41 Florida State, No. 42 Virginia Tech (Twice)
First-Team: No. 29 Romain Bogaerts
Third-team: No. 94 Adam Lee, No. 110 Maksim Kan
The Demon Deacons continued right where they left off. A year after the racquetmen reached the ACC Championship, Wake displayed a lineup that consisted of five freshmen and sophomores and merely one senior. Despite their youth, they were a competent team in a devilish ACC conference that received NINE NCAA berths!
While the Deacs had some tremendous triumphs, their season is defined by "what ifs."
The Deacs played ten matches that went the distance-a 4-3 decision. Out of those 10, Wake lost nine of those matches. None of these were more devastating than the 4-3 loss to Texas in the Regional Championship of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The freshman at sixth singles was up 5-2 in the third set, ready to punch a ticket to the ITA Nationals for the first time in school history. He ultimately lost 7-6. Tough third-set loses in decisive matches occurred several more times in ACC play.
Though, these raw numbers in close matches are chalked up to nothing more than bad luck combined with inexperience. While college tennis is a team-sport, a team doesn't "choke" and a coach doesn't draw up a poor play. Those decisive matches are right between the players' ears. Each of these players are battle-tested on a rigorous tournament circuit, but the young players are not accustomed to playing tennis as a team-sport. This results in extra, unusual pressure because they are playing for people besides themselves.
If Wake won half their 4-3 matches, they finish 19-10 (6-5). Looks a little better, doesn't it? Their success will converge with luck and experience.
Wake only loses one starter in Adam Lee at second singles. While the two-time captain will be a tough loss, in Tony Bresky's fourth season at the helm, the Demon Deacons are ready to contend in the ACC and on a national scale. The Deacs starting lineup will likely feature Bogaerts, Kan, Jon Ho and the highly-touted recruit from Tunisia Skander Mansouri. Like with this past season, fifth and sixth singles are entirely up for grabs with a plethora of solid options vying for the anchor positions.
All of us here at BSD look forward to continued success from Wake tennis. Comment if you want us to continue covering the Demon Deacon tennis team!