The Friars opened their season by finishing fifth at the OPRF Huskies Invitational on April 2. After losing every one of their five first round matches, the Friars battled back to have a successful tournament. Fenwick won two matches in three of their events after losing the first.
At first singles, Bobby Bingle placed fifth overall, winning both of his matches after his first-round loss. At second singles, Jack Pelzer also placed fifth after losing his first match, then won his next two. Marty Duggan and Mike Stark also had the same fifth place finish in first doubles.
The second doubles team of Joe Campagna and Mike Reany lost their first match, won their second, but then lost the third. Tom Besio and Rob Janda did the same at third doubles.
"We're not real happy with the overall score of the tournament," said Fenwick head coach Gerard Sullivan, "but I was really happy with the way the group played." If the Friars had been able to win one of their first-round matches, they would have placed fourth, something Sullivan would have liked, and they were close to winning one of those matches, as three of them went to three sets.
"We had some disappointing first-round losses, but we came back and won pretty much all of our remaining ones," said Pelzer. After the first round, the Friars won eight of their 10 matches, which meant that they were able to salvage a respectable finish, and end on a very positive note.
As this was the first tournament of the year for the Friars, they were not used to the three-a-day match schedule. "At the end of the day, I was pretty pleased," said Sullivan. The Friars are a very young team this year, as only two of the eight players who played in the Huskie Invitational were seniors.
However, the Friars still feel they can challenge Loyola, with whom they have a dual meet tomorrow. "They are the perennial powerhouse in our conference," said Sullivan. He is confident of Fenwick's abilities, however. "We have the wherewithal to give them a good challenge." This will likely be the toughest dual meet the Friars have all season.
The Fenwick freshman/sophomore team has beaten Loyola each of the last two years, so Sullivan sees this as a good sign. "They are in the habit of beating Loyola," he said.
For the season, the Friars want to work on gaining more experience for their younger players and winning as many matches as they can to try to put an end to Loyola's dominance. "We want to challenge Loyola for the conference title and do as well as we can," said Pelzer. "We want to win the majority of our matches."