SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University men's tennis team opens its spring season on Friday when it faces Lamar and Oklahoma St. in Stillwater.
This marks the third-straight year that Bryant will open its season in Oklahoma and also represents the Bulldogs' biggest adventure yet. It begins a stretch of 12 games in 17 days that takes the Black and Gold from Oklahoma to Colorado and finally back to the Northeast. Bryant will face 15th-ranked Cowboys and 22nd-ranked Oklahoma during the stretch.
Bryant, the six-time defending Northeast Conference champions, will face Lamar at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning before facing host Oklahoma St. at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night. The Bulldogs will have Saturday off before traveling to Tulsa for a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 3:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs then head to Norman to face the 22nd-ranked Sooners and Oral Roberts before making the nine-hour trek to Colorado to complete its opening week of matches. They'll face Denver on Jan. 23, Northern Colorado and Air Force on Jan. 24 and Weber St. on Jan. 25.
"On paper and logistically this appears to be the most difficult schedule we've ever had and I truly hope we have prepared the team for what's about to happen," head coach Ron Gendron said. "The goal of creating a schedule like this is clearly designed to create toughness, forced time management and to see a different level of tennis. I truly believe this is what prepares us best for defending our title year in and year out. Hopefully, the coaching staff, myself and the team are up for the challenge."
Bryant heads into the spring season with a wealth of experience under seven-time NEC Coach of the Year Ron Gendron. All-NEC First Teamer Wilson Dong (Bradenton, Fla.) posted a 6-4 record during the fall, tying with senior Jorge Isaias Ortiz-Garcia (Trujillo Alto, Fla.) and sophomore Andrew Pregel (Cincinnati, Ohio) for the team lead in victories. Dong has won 30 matches in two-plus seasons in Smithfield, while Ortiz-Garcia has won 33 career matches.
The Black and Gold on veterans Guido Argentini (Boca Raton, Fla.), Andrew Corrado (East Islip, N.Y.), Anshumat Srivastava (Patna, India), Trent Massam (Wellington, New Zealand) and Grant Pertile (Edgartown, Mass.). This group of upperclassmen has excelled in both singles and doubles, with the doubles teams of Argentini/Massam and Ortiz-Garcia/Pertile returning as two of the top duos in the conference. Argentini and Massam went 11-4 in dual matches, while Ortiz-Garcia and Pertile went 12-4.