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Eagles hot, cold at ITA’s

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Pairing up as one of the doubles teams at the tournament, Leenders and Vedrickas drew a bye in round one of doubles action. In round two the tandem went up against Joao Pablo Bonnasar and Jonathan Sucupira of Florida State. Bonnasar and Sucupira came away with the victory, 8-3.

Coach Steve Rodecap is not sure whether Leenders and Vedrickas will be doubles partners when the season begins, but the two will be paired up again this weekend.

“The doubles team (Leenders and Vedrickas) played much better this week,” he said. “None of the doubles teams are set, but the two of them will be paired up again this week.”

In singles action Kawas faced Virgina Tech’s Reaves Robinette in the round of 256 players. Kawas ousted Robinette with final scores of 6-2, 6-4.

In other opening round action Vedrickas went up against Tigran Martirosyan of Kentucky. Martirosyan came out on top, out-dueling Vedrickas in straight 6-2 sets. Martirosyan then went on to rattle off four more wins earning him a spot in the round of 16.

Leenders also had a date with a Wildcat in round one as he faced Kentucky’s Nate Emege. With scores of 7-5, 6-3, it was Emege who emerged as the winner.

In round two of tournament play the playing field was trimmed down to 128 players, as Kawas battled Karim Alayli of Mississippi. After winning the first set with a score of 6-4, Kawas lost the next two sets with scores of 6-0, 6-2.

Kawas noticed a difference in his play from the first set to the second one. “I became carried away after winning the first set. It took time for me to settle down and begin playing in the second set,” he said. “Also he (Alayli) played better in the second set. In the final set the score does not reflect how close it was. It was a very tight set.”

Playing in his second tournament under Rodecap, Kawas can tell the impact the coach is having on the team.

“This year I feel we are more motivated,” the native of Honduras said. “I feel as if we are improving each day as a team. The team also has the feeling that we cannot wait for the next tournament.”

The team will be traveling to Madison this weekend to compete in another tournament. Missing from the lineup will be senior Raj Gill and junior Troy Delmege, who will be out due to injuries.

Though he will not participate in the tournament this weekend, Delmege has impressed Rodecap in practice.

“Troy has really shown me a lot in practice,” Rodecap said. “He has really brought it together very well.”

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