By Austin Ferrer
The men’s tennis team (5-6) has won five of their last seven matches, outscoring opponents 31-14 during the seven game stretch. The Bulldogs will look to carry that momentum into their first Southern Conference match of the season against UNC-Greensboro (4-4) on Friday.
Samford’s recent success on the court can be attributed to the tough schedule that was placed before them to start the year.
“When you compete with three nationally-ranked SEC teams early in the year, they really show you where you need to improve to compete with the best,” team captain Austin Akers said. “We’ve done a great job of learning from those losses and turning them into positive results.”
The Bulldogs look to continue a two-match win streak against conference foe UNCG on Friday. In two previous matches with the Spartans, the ‘Dogs won by nail-biting scores of 4-3 in 2012 and 2013.
The Spartans were defeated in two consecutive close matches over the weekend. They were defeated 4-3 on Saturday by Winthrop and 4-3 on Sunday by Georgia Southern.
The ‘Dogs hope to extend the Spartans losing streak by relying on continued gritty performances by freshmen Jake Faundez and Justin Ghavami. Faundez has won five consecutive matches, and Ghavami has bounced back from an 0-4 start to win six consecutive matches.
The Bulldogs will also turn to the doubles tandem of junior Fares Kilani and freshman Eduardo Lourido Sanchez, who have teamed up to win four consecutive doubles matches.
“Last time we played them, we were down 2-0 early,” Kilani said. “We were able to fight back and win at the very end. I’m hoping we take care of business earlier this year.”
First serve is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Samford Tennis Center.