Pioneers to compete at ITA Southeast Regional this weekend

Pioneers to compete at ITA Southeast Regional this weekend

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Members of the Tusculum University men's tennis team will be competing at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Regional Small College/Oracle Championships beginning Friday at the Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter, South Carolina.

Senior Yago Fernandez, juniors David Akinpetide and Manuel Guedes de Almeida and sophomore Frank Bonacia will compete in both singles and doubles for the Pioneers during the event, which runs through Monday.

Fernandez, Almeida and Bonacia are all seeded in the singles field of 96 players, and will begin play on Friday afternoon. Akinpetide will compete in a play-in match Friday morning at 10:30 against Enrico Haas of Newberry, with the winner advancing to face Agustin Aran of Queens at 3:00 Friday afternoon.

Fernandez, who plays Friday at 2:30 p.m. against either Marcel Agbegne of Limestone or Sri Reddiyar of Young Harris, is competing at the ITA Regionals for the fourth time in his career, with a record of 7-4. As a freshman, Fernandez lost his first match and then won four straight in the consolation bracket before falling to teammate Tashique Kader in the consolation finals. Last year, Fernandez won his opening match in the round of 128 before being eliminated in his second match of the weekend. The Aviles, Spain native has a 5-2 record this season and a career record of 43-24 at Tusculum.

Almeida is competing for the first time at the ITA Regionals, after opening the current season with a 4-2 record in singles play. The native of Vila Nova De Gaia, Portugal will play his first match in the round of 64 on Friday at 2 p.m. against the winner of the Friday morning match between Brandon Sweeney of Francis Marion and Roy Sepanov of Wingate.

Bonacia is also making his ITA Southeast Regional debut after transferring to Tusculum from Division I Chicago State. Bonacia did compete in the DI Men's Midwest Regional last fall, finishing with a 1-1 record in singles play. The Rome, Italy native has a 5-4 record in singles this fall for the Pioneers, and will open his regional in the round of 64 at 1:30 Friday afternoon against the winner of the match between Hunter Horton of Coker and Philip Nordberg of Barton.

In doubles, Bonacia and Fernandez will play Rodrigo Carvalho and Felipe Carvalho of Flagler on Friday morning at 8 a.m., with the winner moving on to play Sebastian Meum and Aran of Queens on Saturday morning. Fernandez has a career doubles record of 44-28, and a 2-2 record at the ITA Regionals.

Also teaming up to play Friday morning will be Akinpetide and Almeida, who will face Marc Janse and Rintaro Oka of Carson-Newman in the opening round at 8 a.m. The winner will face the Anderson duo of Ignacio Bidegain and Preston Morpath on Saturday morning. The duo have never played doubles together, but Akinpetide does have ITA experience as he went 1-1 with Fernandez last fall.

The consolation rounds in singles will begin Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.