Men’s Tennis Completes Successful Weekend At USTA/ITA Midwest Regional

Posted on October 5th, 2015 by

Mohanad Alhouni finished in second place during the Flight 1 singles draws.

For complete results and photos from the weekend, visit the tournament website.

ST. PETER, Minn. – Members of the Gustavus Adolphus men’s tennis team competed in the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships and the Midwest Open held this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Gustavus Adolphus College. More than 200 of the top players from the Midwest took part in the two tournaments.

Fourteen Gusties competed in the tournament’s main singles draw, which included 128 total players, and six Gusties were seeded, including Mohanad Alhouni (So., Tripoli, Libya), Andres Saenz (Jr., Cancun, Mexico), Zach Ekstein (So., Eagan, Minn.), Mitch Elofson (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.), Tommy Entwistle (So., Sioux Falls, S.D.), and T. Connor Shives (So., Rochester, Minn.). 

Alhouni and Ekstein led the way for the Gusties, as they competed against one another in one of the tournament’s semifinals. Alhouni came away with the win in 6-2, 6-4 fashion, and went on to be crowned tournament champion after defeating Coe’s Brady Anderson in the finals by a 6-2, 6-2 score.

Sophomore Zach Ekstein had a successful tournament, advancing to the semifinals in both singles and doubles.

Sophomore Zach Ekstein had a successful tournament, advancing to the semifinals in both singles and doubles.

“It means a lot to me to win the ITA, especially after falling to my brother last year,” said Alhouni. “It made me more dedicated to come back and do better this year. However, it wouldn’t have happened without the help of my teammates and coaches. I have to give a special shoutout to Zach [Ekstein]. I’m sure he would agree, but it’s never easy competing against a teammate, especially with so much on the line. It was a very competitive match with him, he was a class act the entire way, and it was nice knowing that, no matter how the match went, we’d still be great teammates and friends when all was said and done.”

With his victory in the championship match, Alhouni earns an automatic bid to the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, which will be held October 15-18 at the Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter, South Carolina.

Gustavus also had six teams compete in the main doubles draw, including the seeded combinations of Alhouni/Saenz, Ekstein/Entwistle, and Elofson/David Hagberg (Jr., Eden Prarie, Minn.). Alhouni/Saenz led the Gusties by appearing in the draw’s final, before falling in an epically close match to Jake Humphries/Michael Tries of UW-Whitewater by a final score of 5-7, 6-3, (10-12). Ekstein/Entwistle also turned heads by advancing to the semifinals before falling to Humphries/Tries.

“Doubles was really emotional,” said Alhouni. “We felt we had the match in hand, but credit has to be given to our opponents for continuing to fight and coming up with some huge shots when it counted most. For me, it was really tough because it’s Dre’s last year, and I wanted to accomplish something special with him. But I believe in us, and can’t wait to come back in the spring and do more damage.

“Having the support from my teammates, family, and friends was really special and it was what kept me motivated throughout my matches. I am really thankful to have people like that on my side and be able to represent our program and Gustavus. I want to especially thank Coach Tommy [Valentini] for believing and sticking with me through my ups and downs over the course of the tournament.”

 

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