Austin Allen

Redshirt junior Austin Allen preparing to serve the ball

The East Carolina University men’s tennis team is getting ready to travel to Richmond, Virginia to compete in the Richmond Fall Invite from Friday to Sunday.

The Pirates are coming off a good showing last week in their first event of the season at the USC Fall Tournament hosted by the University of South Carolina. The team got off to a shaky start, but left the event with an individual title as junior Will Bissett went 4-1 in singles, earning him the flight C consolation title. 

In the doubles matches as senior Vlad Anghel and freshman Diogo Marques (8-7(4), 8-5) went 0-2 and sophomores Javier Renones and Wisse Jonker (8-4,9-8) and senior Ronny Georgi and freshman Simon Labbe (8-7(4), 9-7) went 1-1.

In the singles Bissett led the Pirates going 4-1 and sophomore Austin Allen and Renones, Anghel, and Labbe and Marques all went 1-2. 

Head coach Shawn Heinchon said he was pleased with the way his team played and was excited for the chance to get out there and play.

“It was really great to just get out there and play some tennis again,” Heinchon said. “It was great for our guys to get an idea to see where they are and what they can work on. That’s the essence of what we do, I know the guys have the desire to get out there and compete.” 

As the team prepares for the Richmond Fall Invite, two new faces on the team will try to improve on their first outing in South Carolina. Marques and Labbe both competed in the USC Fall Tournament and both went 1-2 in their singles matches and both competed in doubles.

“Our first match was not easy, but I look forward to improving this week and as the year goes on,” Labbe said. “It’s been very easy to join the team because a lot of the older guys have taken me in and shown me a lot already.”

Both freshmen have already had the advantage of playing with upperclassmen, as Diogo was paired with Anghel and Labbe was paired with Georgi. 

As the team comes off its best season as a program in the spring, winning a school record 22 games, the team will be looking to build on the success it found. While the team lost seniors Freddie McGeehan and Kasey Countee, ECU returns a solid core of players who have experienced success, and knows what it takes to achieve it.

Anghel knows the team can’t take its success from last season for granted, and is already excited with the energy he has seen from the freshmen and the rest of the team so far this season.

“I think we have been doing a great job preparing for our matches so far this season,” Anghel said. “I’m excited because these last two weeks have been some of the best practices we’ve had since I’ve gotten here, and I think we are really going to see our efforts in preparation pay off this season.”

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