Men’s tennis fights hard down stretch

The University of Miami men’s tennis team record does not reflect how the Hurricanes view themselves as a team. On the year, the team is 11-9 overall and 2-7 in the ACC.

“We expect to be better, but we lost a lot of 4-3 matches,” said first-year Head Coach Mario Rincon.

Despite an early run of bad luck, the Hurricanes have come back and won two out of the last three ACC match ups and played fifth ranked Duke tightly, losing another 4-3 match. The team is not focused on negatives but rather the positives of its improvement. Only one senior remained on the team this year, leaving many of these players to mature on the court this season. The youthfulness of the team may have hurt the early season success, but it leaves the ceiling open with regards to possible improvement.

For example, the Hurricanes scored a huge upset from ACC Men’s Tennis Performer of the Week Josh Cohen against Duke in their last match. Cohen was ranked 120th and beat third-ranked Ludovic Walter in straight sets 7-6(3), 6-4. Cohen had a combined 4-0 record in singles and doubles action against North Carolina State and Duke in the Hurricanes last week of action.

“Josh will be an All American someday. He has all the heart,” Rincon said.

All of that aside, the team has the biggest match saved for the end of the year against Florida State.

“Florida State is an important match-up,” Rincon said. “They always have great crowds when they play Miami. We have been improving in the last part of the season, but this is really a do or die situation for our team.”

A win against Florida State can validate any UM sports team’s season. Florida State is currently 15-6 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Florida State is highlighted by two very strong doubles teams, Mat Cloer and Ytai Abougzir and Jeff Groslimond and Chris Westerhof, ranked in the top 50 nationally.

It will be no easy task to defeat Florida State but a strong outing could springboard UM into a successful postseason.

After Florida State, the Hurricanes will play in their first-ever ACC Tournament. This year’s championship will take place April 21 to 24 at the Cary Tennis Center in Cary, N.C.

“We expect a tough first round match, but we have the talent to beat any team,” Rincon said.

Denis Brown can be contacted at