SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University men's tennis team begins its competition season with a pair of matches at the University of Tulsa.
Bryant will face Tulsa at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11 before taking on Texas Tech at 2:00 p.m.
"I believe we are prepared to play, it's always exciting to start at a great venue," head coach Ron Gendron said. "Opening with Tulsa, Texas Tech and Dartmouth is a privilege. Hopefully, we can play free and embrace these great opponents. With such early challenges, it's easy to spot our weaknesses and gives us plenty of time to try and improve."
Friday will be the first of 27 matches between January and April that will prepare the Black and Gold for the 2019 Northeast Conference Championships. The Bulldogs are the five-time defending league champions.
Bryant enjoyed a strong fall campaign that included two trips to Brown and a pair of home invitationals. The Black and Gold also posted a 6-1 victory over Bentley.
The Bulldogs were led by senior Matt Kuhar (Smithfield, R.I.), the two-time NEC Player of the Year and the No. 81 ranked player in the country. He went 7-4 in the fall and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Oracle ITA Championships and the round of 32 at the ITA Northeast Regionals.
Bryant also welcomes back four other All-NEC performers from a season ago. That group includes seniors Artur Jakubowski (Dallas, Texas) and Michael Plutt (Weston, Fla.), junior Jorge Isaias Ortiz-Garcia (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) and sophomore Wilson Dong (Bradenton, Fla.).
Jakubowski earned first team honors in singles and doubles, posting a 16-15 overall record in singles and going 20-9 in doubles with Kuhar. This fall, Jakubowski was 2-5 in tournament play and posted a 4-3 record with Kuhar.
Bryant also received stellar performances from three freshmen this fall. Andrew Pregel (Cincinnati, Ohio) went 4-0 in singles and a perfect 4-0 in doubles matches in his first three months of collegiate tennis. Andrew Forchetti (Orange, Conn.) went 2-0 in singles, while Alexander Schou (Holte, Denmark) was 3-2 in singles.
The Bulldogs' opponents this weekend are two of the top programs in the country. Tulsa went just 11-17 last season but has made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances under head coach Vince Westbrook. Texas Tech finished 2018 ranked No. 36 in the country and is receiving votes in the most recent ITA Top 25.