By (Zach Fidel)

University of Alabama men’s tennis defeated both Samford and Chattanooga on Saturday. With the two victories, the Crimson Tide is off to its best start since 2008.

Alabama got off to a slow start in its first match against Samford.

In doubles play, the Crimson Tide dropped first three games. The freshman duo of Patrick Kaukovalta and Grant Stuckey had never played together, and Kaukovalta was playing in his first match of his career. Sophomores Thibault Cancel and Alexey Nesterov kick started the afternoon for the Crimson Tide as they won their match 6-2.

The momentum of the match shifted when Edson Ortiz and Mazen Osama mounted an energetic comeback win after being down 4-1. Ortiz, the sophomore from Mexico, was the more energetic of the two motivating his teammate with words of encouragement.

Alabama didn’t look back when it was time for singles play. It shutout Samford 6-0 which resulted in an overall final score of 7-0.

Coach George Husak was impressed on how his team reacted after a rough start in doubles play. With no senior on the squad, this was the perfect test for this young team.

“Samford provided a tremendous challenge for us in doubles, and after we fought back to get that point the guys really rallied together,” Husak said. “With this young team we as a coaching staff try to be as clear as possible, we’re very simple with our philosophy.”

It seemed like the only thing that could stop the Crimson Tide was the two-hour break it had before squaring off against Chattanooga.

There was no starting slow this time for Alabama, as it swept the doubles matches against Chattanooga. Freshman Grant Stuckey bounced back from his doubles lost to Samford with a convincing 6-3 win with fellow freshman and roommate Sam Fischer.

“I knew Sam before I came here, and since we’re roommates we pretty much hangout all the time,” Stuckey said. “Our bond off the court definitely helps our game when we step onto the court.”

The Crimson Tide won all but one of their singles matches against Chattanooga giving it a 6-1 victory. Its next match is Jan. 26 against Virginia Tech.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports