The Gustavus men’s tennis team kicked off the fall season by competing in the Drake Invitational, competing in both singles and doubles brackets.
Two Gusties, Seniors Mohanad Alhouni and Mason Bultje advanced to the semifinals in each of their brackets.
Alhouni would defeat Josef Altman of NWMSU 6-3, 6-1, Jarod Hing of Tulsa, 3-6, 7-5, 10-7 until falling to Omaha’s Nathan Reekie 6-2, 6-1. Bultje would defeat Hunter Terrel of UND 7-6, 6-3 and would best Pedro Portes of NWMSU in the quarterfinals before falling in the next round to Marko Minic of Omaha.
The doubles team of Zach Ekstein and Yassine Derbani would advance to the semifinals in their bracket, leading Gustavus in the doubles draws. The pair would defeat Tulsa’s Hing/Pritchard 6-4 as well as Pudlo/Ford of Coe College 7-6 in the quarter finals. They would eventually fall to Woodward/Outtara of Omaha 6-2.
Up next would be the ITA Midwest Regional Championships where Gustavus took home both titles in the singles and doubles brackets.
Alhouni led the way for Gustavus, paving the way to his third consecutive ITA singles title. He would dominate the early rounds, besting Central’s Jackson Lewton 6-0, 6-0, Kevin Mei of Carleton 6-0, 6-2, Josh Pudio of Coe College 6-1, 6-0.
He would face a fellow Gustie teammate, Yassine Derbani in the 5th round where Alhouni emerged victorious, 6-3, 6-1. In the semifinals on Sunday, he would face another teammate in Chase Johnson where the final result went to Alhouni, taking the match 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.
“The guys stuck together and embraced a lot of tough moments today and every member of our team made great progress this weekend,” Coach Valentini said.
In the finals, Alhouni would meet fellow bracket winner, teammate Zach Ekstein who advanced quickly through his respective bracket. The match would go two sets with Alhouni emerging victorious, 6-2, 6-0.
“Playing Yassine, Chase, and Zach today, it isn’t easy. It is nerve-racking but I think we handled it first-class. We were able to push each other, and I am really grateful for that,” Alhouni said.
The Gusties would also go on to capture the doubles title as well from the duo of Alhouni/Whaling as they would defeat Brady Anderson and Nate Ackert of Coe College, 6-4, 6-4. Gustavus would have two doubles teams make it to the semifinals with the pair of Ekstein/Derbani and making it to the final four as well.
“To have six doubles teams through to the round of 16 and five singles quarter finalists is a great showing from our guys,” Valentini said.
Alhouni and Whaling will move on to compete in the ITA Oracle cup at Berry College in Rome, Ga from Oct. 11 through 15.
“We were able to push each other, and I am really grateful for that. I am looking forward to the spring season and obviously Georgia next week,” Alhouni said.