The play of UNC Greensboro men’s tennis sophomore standouts Nico Grewe and Ollie Palmer, who combined for 21 singles wins and 12 doubles victories during the 2018-19 season gave Spartan head coach and Director of Tennis Jeff Trivette a lot to look forward to as UNCG heads into the offseason.
Grewe and Palmer, who were named Second Team All-SoCon in singles and as a doubles team, finished with 11 and 10 singles victories, respectively. Grewe snagged seven wins as the Spartans’ No. 2 seed and four from the No. 1 position, while Palmer was responsible for seven victories as a No. 2 and three as No. 1. Both posted three singles wins against league opponents.
Grewe and Palmer led all UNCG doubles pairings with 12 wins, three more than the tandem of Jack Burkill / Hugh Knapp. Three of the wins by the team of Grewe / Palmer came in SoCon play against ETSU, The Citadel and Wofford in succession. The duo of Grewe / Palmer had a four-match winning streak, the longest by any Spartan pair in 2019, between March 3-March 9, claiming wins against James Madison, Duquesne, The Citadel and Coastal Carolina.
Grewe topped all Spartans in singles wins by putting together a trio of three-match winning streaks over the course of the season, including his final three against Yash Parikh (Davidson), Mario Paccini (Elon) and Tomas Rodriguez (Chattanooga).
Palmer, one of two Spartans to claim 10 singles wins over the course of the season, posted five straight-set victories. His first of three back-to-back wins came inside the first week of the season when he downed Klein Evans (Richmond) and Yevhen Sirous (Radford). In the first week of March, Palmer again won consecutive matches against Alvaro Arce (JMU) and Drew Akins (Duquesne).
After prevailing in a weekend series against Clarke Wilson (Furman) and Daniel Stenger (Presbyterian) on March 16-17, respectively, Palmer put together a three-match win streak against Omar Williams (Wofford), Francisco Neto (USC Upstate) and Alex Pavkovich (Appalachian State).
“We are very excited about our team next year!” said Trivette. “We had a very young team this year, that took great strides to build a championship culture and develop into a special group. We have a strong core of exciting young players who will be successful for years to come.”
Freshman Roger Rogowski also made his impact felt on the UNCG men’s team, winning 10 singles matches, eight of which came from the No. 4 seed. Rogowski claimed his first collegiate singles win against Radford’s Pierre-Olivier Lassalle on Feb. 8, the first of eight straight-set triumphs.
After back-to-back wins over Breno Plentz (Gardner-Webb) and Damon Roberts (JMU), Rogowski enjoyed a three-match win streak over Lucas Cerbelli (Wofford), Tom Russwurm (USC Upstate) and Ben Webster (Appalachian State) to close out the month of March. Rogowski followed up by winning two of his final four matches of the slate, garnering wins over Thomas Mason (Davidson) and Luke Plaisted (Chattanooga).
Another key freshman for Trivette’s squad was Knapp, who became the eighth Spartan to receive All-Freshman honors from the SoCon in program history. In addition to the eight singles victories, Knapp was responsible for nine doubles victories, which came while playing alongside Burkill.
Knapp’s best stretch of the season came between March 24 and April 7 when he won four straight two-set matches, all on the road. The streak began against Zion Heaven (Appalachian State) and included wins over Sami Kirberg (Samford), Stathis Tsiranidis (Mercer) and Flipe Osses-Konig (Davidson), which was instrumental in helping the Spartans claim two team victories.
Burkill, one of two rising seniors for UNCG in 2019-20, closed out the slate with five singles wins and nine when paired with Knapp as the No. 2 and No. 3 seed. Burkill won three of his five matches as the No. 5 seed, including a straight-set victory over Joahn Fors (Gardner-Webb) on Feb. 25.
After prevailing in two matches as a No. 6 seed on March 3rd and March 17th, Burkill claimed back-to-back wins over Afonso Viana (Appalachian State) and Max Rebol (Samford) to open a four-match road swing for the Spartans in late March.
The Spartans received a combined five singles victories from Ian Melnik (three) and Cooper Wyett (two). Melnik, the lone senior on the team, posted two of his three wins in the final month of the season against both Douglas MacIntosh (Davidson) and Pablo Llebeili (Chattanooga), which came in his final home match.
Meanwhile, Wyett played in nine singles matches over the course of his freshman slate. His first collegiate singles win took place on March 4 against Dane Bendel (Duquesne), where he prevailed in straight sets (6-3, 6-4). Just over two weeks later, Wyett claimed his second win when he took down Samuel Schiano (USC Upstate), also in straight sets.