Tennis is usually considered a spring sport. However, this is not the case.
The Idaho men’s tennis team starts its fall season Friday at the Eastern Washington Fall Classic in Cheney, which ends Sunday.
The Vandals prepare to take on conference and non-conference opponents, like Eastern Washington, Idaho, Gonzaga and Seattle U.
Last season, Idaho went 16-7 overall, with a 9-2 Big Sky record and an 11-6 away record.
The Fall Classic will be a test for the young team with no seniors.
Odon Barta and Jackson Varney graduated in May. Barta competed at the No.1 singles position in almost every match.
Six of the eight players on the roster are underclassmen. It will be up to juniors Felipe Fonesca and Mark Kovacs to take up the leadership roles left behind by Barta and Varney.
Kovacs had a strong performance in last year’s Fall Classic. He made the finals in the No. 4 singles slot before falling to Eastern Washington’s Robert Dula.
Fonesca saw the most success when he teamed up with Barta on the doubles court. The pair won third place, going 2-0 before falling to Gonzaga.
Sophomore Lucas Coutinho impressed his coaches as a freshman in doubles play. Coutinho often teamed up with Kovacs. The two found success late last season and helped Idaho defeat Northern Arizona in the Big Sky tournament semifinals.
Kovacs and Coutinho were named Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athletes over the summer.
During the offseason, Idaho added four freshmen to the team — Kooper Crow, Carlos Longhi Neto, Esteban Santibanez and Guilerme Scarpelli. Without seasoned veterans leading the way, the team looks very different from the team who won second place at the Big Sky Conference tournament last season.After the Fall Classic, Idaho plays the Purdue Fall Invitational Sept. 23-25 in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Brandon Hillcan be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill