Underclassmen hoping to send Karatzas off a winner

After having two weeks off, the Nicholls State University Men’s Tennis program will head to Mobile, Alabama, for their second match of the pre-season against the University of South Alabama this Sunday.

“I think it’s going to be a tough match, but I am looking forward to it” Sam Meessen said. “I think it is going to be a good test for the team to see if we are ready for the season.”

The Colonels debuted their 2016 campaign at home with a 4-1 victory over Jackson State on Saturday. In doubles, Max Sinn and Oleksander Podgursky overcame their opponents in a 6-0 match. Evan Karatzas and Kieran Cronin finished their match with a 6-2 win. In singles, Podgursky was defeated (6-2, 6-4) before the Colonels scored three straight wins with Cronin (6-4, 6-1), Sinn (6-4, 6-2) and Meessen (6-3, 6-1).

Karatzas, the lone returning senior, fulfilled his leadership role and assisted the team in achieving a successful start. The Colonels also counted on Podgursky’s contribution, who just got back to the game after recovering from injury.

“I want to lead this team so we can do a little bit better this year and win the conference championship,” Karatzas said.
Karatzas is looking forward to improving his performance this season by trying to avoid close matches. As a graduating senior, he is expecting to leave Nicholls this semester after a wining season.

“I expect us to have a solid win Saturday,” Karatzas said. “We lost close games to USA the last couple of years, so I want to beat them. They are also a high-ranked team and it would be good to get a win and to get ranked.”

Although Nicholls had only one pre-season game, the team has been practicing together since the beginning of the semester and preparing for the next matches, which according to Head Coach Meenakshi Sundaram, will be important for them to get a feel of where the team stands.

“We only had one match in this season so far and we can’t really judge [the team’s performance] yet,” Sundaram said, “But it is all about the experience. I want them to go out, play hard and enjoy themselves.”

Sundaram said he also expects the team to focus on their academic achievements and that the main goal of this semester is for the senior player to get his grades and graduate.

The Colonels’ Bernard Wezeman, who was nominated Second Team Southland All-Academic and Louisiana Sports Writers Association Second Team All-Louisiana last season, is recovering from a shoulder injury and hasn’t been playing since September.

“I have been doing a lot of rehab and going to the physiotherapist, working on my conditioning and trying to get back into playing as quick as possible,” Wezeman said.

Last season the Colonels finished in fourth place, with a 2-3 record in the Southland Conference play and 9-10 overall. The team finished 5-1 at home, 2-6 away and 2-3 in neutral courts. Nicholls ended the season after playing its fourth consecutive match in the postseason when they fell short to Texas A&M Corpus Christy University.