SAN ANTONIO – Joining the invitational field on the strength of last year’s No. 42 ranking, the UTSA men’s tennis team (1-1) heads north on I-35 to Austin this weekend to match their game against nationally-recognized programs in competition at the ITA Kickoff Weekend. Played at the University of Texas’ tennis stadium, the Texas Tennis Center, UTSA will first match up with No. 4 Texas on Saturday, Jan. 27, and move on to play either Oklahoma State or Utah in the either the Consolation or Championship round on Sunday, Jan. 28., with the winner heading to the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship in New York City.
Following the ITA Kickoff Weekend
Live from the Texas Tennis Center, Longhorn Athletics will provide live results, sorted to the North and South Courts. UTSA vs. Texas is set for first serve at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 on the North Court. Whether UTSA appears in the Consolation or Championship match, it is expected to be played on the South Court. Both matches will be played at 1 p.m.
Cracked Racquets will also be tapping into the Texas Tennis Center cameras for their CrossCourt Cast coverage. More information about CR coverage can be found on the ITA Website.
Direct court-cam video on both North and South Courts can be viewed on the Texas Athletics Website.
Select matchups, including UTSA vs. Texas will be part of ESPN+ coverage of the Regional tournament. The Regional Final will also be streamed live on ESPN+. When available, the direct link will be posted on UTSA Men’s Tennis social media and the team schedule page.
Given the weather in Texas this week, if conditions force action inside, matches will be played at Weller Indoor Tennis Center and a rolling schedule will be adjusted to accommodate the single six-court setup. In the event of a move indoors, no live video will be available and live results will run on the Indoor Stats webpage.
Last Time Out
The Roadrunners have split the results so far (1-1), after opening the 2024 campaign at No. 22 Oklahoma and the Sooners coming away with a 5-2 win. UTSA stayed fresh this week with midweek competition at UT Rio Grande Valley, sweeping the Vaqueros, 7-0, with only a single setback in one doubles match on Wednesday in Edinburg, Texas.
About the Roadrunners
Returning seven players from last year’s Conference USA Runner-up, the Roadrunners are in the fifth season under head coach Sergey Avdeyev and looking make their mark on 2024 early, following one of the best seasons in program history. During the 2023 season, UTSA captured the most wins since 1985 on an 18-7 record, reached the final of the Conference USA Championships and earned the program’s first At-Large bid for the school’s fifth appearance in the NCAA Championships. In addition, the Roadrunners had a doubles pair earn the ITA Texas Region Championship – a program-first – and advance to the National Quarterfinal. The same tandem earned a postseason win and reached the Round of 16 at the NCAA Doubles Championships. On top of all that, UTSA set new program records for ITA team ranking multiple times, reaching as high as 34th and ending the season at No. 42.
In the latest rankings, sophomore Tomás Pinho checks in at No. 115 in singles. Senior Alan Magadan reached as high as No. 6 in the doubles rankings and was one half of the 27th-ranked pair in the final 2023 standings – settling in with new partners this year, Magadan initially appearing as half of the 44th-ranked tandem in the fall alongside junior Tiago Torres. In the Fall 2023 ITA South Region Championships, the tandems of Magadan/ Pinho and Jackson Ross/Garrett Skelly both reached the semifinal round.
Sizing Up the Competition
Texas is a household name in men’s tennis, having won 29 conference championships and reaching the NCAA semifinal in three of the past five years – winning the 2019 National Championship. The Longhorns spent the majority of 2023 in the ITA’s top spot, winning the Big 12 title before falling to eventual champion Virginia in last year’s NCAA semis to cap off a 26-4 season with the No. 3 ranking. In the 2024 season, UT jumped out with a pair of in-state sweeps over Lamar and Abilene Christian, but fell to No. 1 Virginia on Jan. 18, 3-4. The Longhorns return the majority of their lineup from last season, including No. 1 and No. 2 overall ranked players Eliot Spizzirri (6-0) and Micah Braswell (14-2), in addition to No. 49 Pierre-Yves Bailly (5-3) – along with ranked pairs third-ranked Spizzirri and Cleeve Harper (6-1).
The OSU Cowboys ranked No. 38 last year at 14-14 and went on to reach second round of the NCAAs. They ascended to the second level of the Big 12 tournament before No. 2 TCU cashed them out. A program on the move under third-year head coach Dustin Taylor, the Cowboys entered the season at No. 3 in the Big 12 Coaches Poll and are off to a quick 3-0 start with 6-1 home wins over UT Rio Grande Valley and Omaha, topping Middle Tennessee 4-2 on Jan. 19. The Cowboys’ eight returning players from 2023 are led by fifth-years Tyler Zink and Alex Garcia, ranking 18th and 48th, respectively. OSU will open ITA kickoff weekend on Friday against Utah.
The Utah Utes were regular season Pac-12 Champions and finished at No. 17 last year on a 24-6 record and second round NCAA finish on an at-large bid after falling to Pac-12 Tournament Champion USC in the title game, 2-4. Entering the 10th season under coach Roeland Brateanu, the Utes have built up a winner in Salt Lake City, winning 76 percent of their matches over the past two seasons. Limited to just one match this spring, a 5-2 win over Weber State on Jan. 20, the Utes retain the services of senior Geronimo Busleiman who was 46th in the final ITA singles rankings but lost 101st-ranked Franco Capalbo, leaving six players returning from last year’s championship squad. Utah will open ITA Kickoff Weekend against Oklahoma State.
Series Against the Opposition
- UTSA and Texas are set to meet for the 30th time and the third consecutive season. Texas holds a 29-0 mark against the Roadrunners, topping UTSA 7-0 last January and 6-1 in 2022.
- Oklahoma State and UTSA have played three previous times, with OSU taking all three – last matchup up in 2001 with a 5-1 neutral site loss.
- Utah and UTSA could potentially meet for the first time.
Following the weekend in Austin, UTSA will carry on with the season-opening 10-match road string, heading to a neutral site matchup with Utah in Denver (Feb. 3), potentially a rematch, ahead of a redux from last season against Denver (Feb. 4).
- UTSA -