2014-2015 Loyola Men's Tennis Season Review
The Loyola University Maryland men's tennis team put together another good performance this season as they concluded with a 9-10 overall record. In Patriot League play, the Greyhounds posted wins over Lafayette and Holy Cross to finish with a 2-6 record. The Hounds competed well in the Patriot League Championships quarterfinal round before falling to eventual titlist Navy.
Senior Harrison Kunkel helped the Greyhounds to three seasons with double-figure victoriesduring his tenure with the program and a 42-31 team record. Kunkel began as the team's number six singles player during his first year on the Evergreen Campus and worked his way up to number two in singles and number one in doubles as a collegian. Kunkel completed his play for the Greyhounds with 40 singles wins and 25 on the doubles side.
Junior co-captain Greg Olesnycky, who was voted the team's Most Dedicated Player following the season,, worked hard to move from number four in singles a sophomore to number one as a junior. He has accumulated 31 singles wins and 42 in doubles for Loyola. Olesnucky was 3-1 in singles play at the Villanova Invitational, and he teamed with fellow team captain and classmate Jordan Kuchta to advance to the doubles final at the event. They also won the "A" Flight Consolation bracket at the Bucknell Invitational.
Kuchta also made a substantial move up the Greyhounds' ladder, ascending from the number five singles slot as a sophomore to sit in the number two hole as a junior. He won an impressive 12 singles matches and posted 14 doubles victories with Olesnycky. Kuchta has 36 victories in singles play and 47 in doubles during his three-year career. He was 3-1 in singles and doubles at the Villanova Invitational, reaching the doubles' title match. He teamed with Olesnycky to reach the "A" Flight doubles semifinals at both the St. Joseph's Invitational and the Mount St. Mary's Invitational.
Junior Connor Pietrak, who studies broad in New Zealand during the fall semester, was named the team's Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row after going 14-4 in singles play at number three. His singles wins was the second-highest on the team, and he went 4-4 in Patriot League competition. Pietrak has amassed 38 singles and doubles wins in his three years as a Greyhound, and he also earned a spot on the six-man Academic All-Patriot League Team with his impressive 3.68 grade-point average.
Quality performances from the freshman class showed plenty of potential for the future of Loyola men's tennis.
Reid Burch made positive contributions to the team in his first season of collegiate play, winning 11 singles matches between numbers two and four in the lineup. He reached the "A" flight consolation singles final at the Bucknell Invitational and was an impressive 3-1 in action at the Villanova Invitational. He tied for fifth out of 16 players at the event.
Blest Jones had an outstanding first season for the Greyhounds as he amassed the most singles wins on the tea with a 17-7 record, 3-3 against Patriot League foes, in the number five spot. He reached the singles quarterfinals of the "B" flight at the Bucknell Invitational. He then went 4-0 at the Villanova Invitational and won the "C" Flight singles bracket at the Mount St. Mary's Invitational.
Brett Shriver had a successful initial college season with 10 singles victories, playing between numbers three and six in the lineup. He reached the "A" flight quarterfinals in singles play at the Bucknell Invitational, and he was 2-2 in singles and doubles (with classmate Reid Burch) at the Villanova Invitational. That duo won six matches together at number two and reached the "A" flight semifinals at the Mount St. Mary's Invitational.
Tyler Blessing had some positive results in his first season before a back injury halted his competitive season. Blessing reached the quarterfinals in singles in the "B" flight at the Bucknell Invitational, was 2-2 in singles at the Villanova Invitational and advanced to the semifinals of the Mount St. Mary's "D" flight. He paired with John Ferruzzi made the semifinal round of the Mount St. Mary's "B" doubles flight before losing a tight 8-7 tiebreaker.
Ferruzzi had a very productive second year, cracking Loyola's doubles lineup at number three with junior Alex Castro to win six matches. Ferruzzi had three quality singles wins at the Mount St. Mar's Invitational to win the "D" flight championship in the fall.
Matt Beijan and sophomore doubles partner Max Shanbrom had a very successful fall slate. Beijan reached the "B" flight singles consolation final at the Bucknell Invitational and semifinal of the "D" flight at the Mount St. Mary's Invitational, while Shanbrom was 7-3 in singles action, 3-1 at the Villanova Invitational. Together, they were 8-4 and reached the "B" flight doubles final at the Bucknell Invitational. They also went 3-1 in doubles play at Villanova and advanced to the "C" flight doubles final at Mount St. Mary's.
Sophomores Conor Skelton and John Rast III competed well in the fall tournaments, as Skelton advanced to the "C" singles flight quarterfinals at the Bucknell Invitational, and Rast was 2-2 in singles action at the Villanova Invitational. Rast also won a dual match in doubles with teammate Jack Shortell versus Coppin State in the spring.
The men's tennis team had another strong year in the classroom, as well, earning a 3.317 GPA during the spring 2015 term, second among Loyola's nine men's sports. The team also sports a 3.292 cumulative GPA, the second highest amongst men's teams.
The Greyhounds were also recognized by the NCAA for being in the top 10 percent of all Division I teams for the Academic Progress Rate (APR).
The future looks bright for the program with high hopes of continued success in the classroom and on the courts for the 2015-2016 academic year. The Greyhounds opened up a state-of-the-art eight-court lighted facility, the McClure Tennis Center, during the spring with the official dedication taking place April 11 before scores of former Loyola tennis players.
Head Coach Rick McClure will start his 37th year with the Loyola men's program and 28th campaign with the women's team in 2015-2016. He has coached 1,155 total matches and posted 387 wins with the women, 326 on the men's side. He reached the 700-win plateau in the spring and will enter the 2015-2016 season with 713 total in his career.