UTRGV tennis has been on hiatus from competition since October, but the break from play is over and Brett Bernstein’s team is back on the courts at the Orville Cox Tennis Center.
A former UT Pan American standout tennis player now back as the head coach, Bernstein is preparing his team of eight for the strong schedule ahead.As opposed to the fall season when Bernstein was hired after student-
athletes were already back to school and practice, this semester he had time to prep.
A pre-season schedule may have played into the equation as UTRGV went out last Wednesday and earned a 6-1 victory
at home over the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers.
“We actually had somewhat of a preseason prep,” Bernstein said. “It helps out in solidifying who my top-gear guys are. Everyone’s starting to fall into place.
I got the guys believing in themselves, they’re going in a lot more confident. I think they have a lot more confidence in me. So, it helps out in all facets.”
Koby Jansen, a sophomore from Queensland, Australia, won in both doubles and singles. Doubles pair of Jansen and Yehonatan Kaufman triumphed 6-3 over their visiting counterparts.
In singles, Jansen won via a two-set sweep over Retriever Melker Svard (6-3, 6-3). Vaqueros Harry Wells and Cosme Jubera won their doubles match 6-4.
Also earning singles wins for UTRGV were Kaufman, Jubera, Elliot Johnstone and Juan Cruz Soria.
The team is led by two designated cocaptains, something Bernstein said the program had not assigned in a while. The
team’s elder statesman, Soria, is one of the captains and the only upperclassman on the roster. The other half of the cocaptaincy is sophomore Jansen, who has been strong in his first two years with the program.
Soria won his match last Wednesday against UMBC’s Justin Carter (6-1, 3-6, 6-3).
A season ago, Soria was named WAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Year. His skill on the court is no question. With half of the team coming in as freshmen, Soria knows that his leadership role will be vital to the growth of the team.
“The whole team is pretty excited, the [freshmen] are excited, the new coach is excited about this opportunity that
we have,” the Argentina native said. “I have more experience than them. I think that they see me like a role model. I try to behave and lead them by example, helping them in any aspect they need: tennis, school, whatever they need.”
The schedule for the team is Texas heavy, including trips to College Station to face Texas A&M University and Dallas to play against Southern Methodist University.
The team leaves Texas a handful of times, however. It will travel to the New Orleans area for three away matches.
Nicholls State University, New Orleans University and Lipscomb University will host UTRGV in Louisiana.
Western Athletic Conference clusters will take place in late March and early April when the Vaqueros go to Las
Cruces, N.M., and then to Kansas City, Mo. These matches, late in the spring season, will determine the seeding for
the end-of-season WAC tournament.
This year’s WAC Championship will take place in the RGV, at the Brownsville Tennis Center April 29 to May 1.