|Posted October 3, 2008|
Pack turns heads, dominates at ITA
KEARNEY, Neb. - The secret is out - thanks to a new crop of marquee players on the roster, the ThunderWolves men's tennis team has taken the first step in establishing itself as a marquee program after three ThunderWolves earned berths to the ITA North Central Regional quarterfinal, by far the most of any team.
Beau Fresquez (Sr., Pueblo, Colo), Ricardo Oaxaca (Jr., Puebla, Mexico), and Philipp Penkatzki (Sr., Bottrop, Germany), each stormed to the ITA Regional Quarterfinals Friday with incredibly dominant play.
Fresquez smoked Nebraska-Kearney's Tony Lopez in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, and followed it up with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Metro State's Sean Carlton.
Oaxaca took down Mesa State's Niko Carrizo 6-1, 6-0, and gave the same treatment to Kearney's Randy Bachle, downing him 6-1, 6-0.
Newcomer Penkatzki had no problem with Colorado Christian's Andrew Wren, winning 6-0, 6-1, and doing the same to Minnesota State's Marco Vasquez, 6-0, 6-1.
Only one stumble kept the Pack from having all four of its representatives make it through to the regional quarterfinals, as Anthony Breitenbach (Fr., Tigard, Ore.) was but a few points away from a win over Mesa State's Nick Provenza, losing 8-6, 6-4. Breitenbach then set the consolation bracket on fire, rattling off two more wins as he made his way to the quarterfinals on the other side of the bracket.
In doubles competition, with just two combos in the running, the combination of Fresquez and Oaxaca also battled their way to the semifinals.
The ThunderWolves' raucous takeover of the ITAs has suddenly vaulted the Pack to the role of one of the top tennis programs in the region in a very short time.
"[Friday's performance] is a confidence booster for sure as we continue to develop this program," Pack coach Tom Durham said. "But this is just our first step on a road to becoming a national-level team. By having a dominant performance in our region, it gives us confidence that we can reach that goal."
The singles and doubles champions from this weekend's tournament advance to the Oct. 16-19 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Alabama. The North Central Regional event at Nebraska-Kearney is one of 63 qualifiers from throughout the country to the Small College Championships.