All photos used for tennis cards are from the athletic department
Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke
With only two meets left, the Duquesne men’s tennis team looks to end its impressive 2012-2013 season in style before competing in the Atlantic-10 Championships later this month.
The team, led by head coach Joe Camillo, has been practically unstoppable this year. The Dukes are 11-4 overall with only one of the losses coming from a conference opponent.
“Conference matches are always the most important ones and the ones you really get fired up for,” Camillo said. “I believe we are the most talented team in the Atlantic-10.”
Camillo, who spent the past 15 years coaching the women’s tennis team here at Duquesne, said his transition from coaching women’s tennis to coaching men’s tennis wasn’t very hard.
“There really wasn’t that much difference except the men are a little bit louder,” Camillo said. “Their energy is high and they wear their emotions on their sleeves a little more.”
Sophomore Rich Robbie believes Camillo is doing a good job after making the switch to coaching men’s tennis.
“He has done a really great job by being there to help us out in practices and in matches,” Robbie said. “He knows when to tell us stuff and he knows when to let us figure out our own things.”
Camillo said he expects the team to win the conference after seeing the men play so well this year. Last year, the team received a three seed in the Atlantic-10 Championship Tournament and lost to the University of Richmond in the quarterfinals.
Junior co-captain Peter Carpenter, who was named A-10 Player of the Week on March 27, believes the team can go even further this year.
“I believe we will be the top four seed,” Carpenter said. “I expect us to win some rounds for sure and hopefully get to the semi-finals at least.”
Junior co-captain Max Rubin agreed with those sentiments.
“We have realistic goals and we can beat everyone we play,” Rubin said. “We’re not going to be the favorites to win, but we definitely believe we can.”
Robbie believes the intangibles like team chemistry are the key advantages the team needs to do well in matches.
“We are so close off the court,” said Robbie. “We have a special energy between us that you don’t see other teams have. Some people think tennis is an individual sport, but the Duquesne men’s tennis team is more of a team than ever.”
“We all get along so well and we all just want to win for each other,” Rubin said. “That is kind of the driving force behind our success this year.”
Just like last year, the young players on the team are continuing to be keys to their regular season success. Carpenter says the team’s two freshmen have been showing signs of promise.
“Our two freshmen [Corey Robison and Harry Walshe], have been stepping up and playing well,” Carpenter said. “They really are acting as anchors for our team.”
While new faces may seem to be making a difference, the experienced players understand they must show leadership and prove their experience.
“Our three captains have been stepping up and doing a really good job,” Robbie said. “We are getting the job done in practice and at the matches.”
Camillo has been enthralled with the way the team has been playing.
“I have been very impressed with this team,” Camillo said. “When they go out there, they are going to expect to win and go for it all and if everything goes well, our goal is to win the conference.”
The team is currently coming off its fourth loss this season, which came from Cleveland State last Friday 4-3. The Dukes will face cross-town rival Carnegie Mellon this Friday at 4 p.m.