By Madeline Hippeard
Just three days before competing in the ITA Midwest Regionals, the Youngstown State University men’s tennis team underwent a big change of coaching staff.
On Oct. 16, Kody Duncan replaced Ulises Hernandez as head coach for the men’s tennis program.
Before coming to YSU, Duncan served as the head coach for the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Edinboro University for nearly seven seasons.
Duncan was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year for his team’s achievements in the 2022-23 season.
In Duncan’s final four seasons at Edinboro, the men’s team went 53-17. Moreover, Duncan led the Edinboro men’s team to the NCAA Tournament in five of his six full seasons as a coach.
During the announcement of his position, Duncan expressed his excitement to be the new head coach of the men’s tennis program at Youngstown State.
“It is my privilege to lead these talented athletes in their pursuit of excellence, both as tennis players and as individuals. I look forward to the journey ahead and am ready to serve Youngstown State with my utmost dedication and passion for the sport,” Duncan said.
Three days after Duncan’s appointment, the tennis team traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete in the ITA Midwest Regionals on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20.
On Oct. 19, the Penguins competed in the qualifying stages of the Main Singles Draw, which consisted of two rounds of play.
Junior Nathan Favier said the ITA tournament is special since it’s the biggest one of the fall.
“Going there was a big challenge for us and we wanted to show the big teams that we are here and we’re able to do good stuff,” Favier said.
Three Penguins earned victories in their first matches.
Favier defeated the University of Toledo’s freshman Poonthong Komolpisut in three rounds with scores of 1-6, 7-6 and 10-6.
Freshman Onder Balaci defeated Cleveland State University’s freshman Alan Matyjas, 6-3 and 6-2.
Senior Asier Pena Ibanez also earned a win, defeating Cleveland State’s freshman Andrew Zimcosky in three rounds with scores of 6-4, 1-6 and 10-4.
Favier, Balaci and Pena Ibanez were all defeated by their next opponents in the Main Singles Draw.
On Day Two, the ‘Guins competed in the Doubles Main Draw. Favier and junior Clement Mainguy secured two wins.
First, the duo defeated the University of Wisconsin’s freshman Tomas Zlatohlavek and sophomore Micheal Minasyan, 8-4. Then, they defeated freshman Jeremy Zhang and junior William Monz from the University of Illinois, 8-7. The duo’s winning streak was cut short by Ohio State’s senior J.J. Tracy and sophomore Alexander Bernard.
Balci and Nishant Dabas beat Michigan State’s senior Luke Baylis and junior Josh Portnoy, 8-5, but were defeated by their next opponent, senior Pawit Sornlaksup and graduate student Marko Galic from Toledo.
The Penguins will return to action Oct. 27 when they travel to Cleveland State University to participate in the Cleveland State Invitational. For more information and to find the results of the ‘Guins next matches, visit ysusports.com.