Men’s team completes fall season

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UA Athletics

Carlos Taborga makes a shot at the MTE Fall Championships Nov. 5. This past weekend, he competed in Florida for the last tournament of the fall. The men’s tennis team will pick its season back up in the spring. UA | Amelia J. Brackin

Alex Austin

The Alabama men’s tennis team’s fall season came to a close on Sunday with the conclusion of the Lakewood Ranch Clay Court Classic event in Sarasota, Fla.  The Tide sent two athletes, junior Ricky Doverspike and freshman Carlos Taborga, to compete in the tournament.

Taborga reached the second round of the singles draw, losing to a player from the University of Florida.

“In my first match, I felt really good, I was very confident,” he said, “And even though I lost the second match, there was nothing to feel bad about.”

Although Doverspike did not win a match in the singles draw, he and Taborga reached the semi-finals in the doubles tournament.

Doverspike was, however, able to hit a two-handed backhand shot for the first time this season, as he continues to recover from a major tear in his left wrist.

Assistant coach Bo Hodge said he thought the performance went really well. “Overall, it was a good end to the fall season,” he said.

Taborga said the season was a study in improvement.

“When I started, I was really nervous,” he said, “Comparing my first tournament to my last two, they were very different.  My confidence is really high right now.”

The two month lay-off between the fall and spring seasons means that staying in playing form is really up to the individual.

“A lot of [the work] is up to our guys,” Hodge said, “They have to put in the effort.  I expect them to come out and work on their own. We can only have two hours of practice a day, plus six hours in the gym. The problem with tennis is that we can’t make them do much work; it is a very individual sport. I am confident that when we come back in January they will be ready to go.”

The Doverspike-Taborga tandem will also see vast improvement with the lay off, as Doverspike will have more time to recover.

“We should play very well in the spring,” Taborga said, “When Ricky comes back from injury, we will be very strong.”

Hodge explained that the fall and spring are two entirely different situations.

“We only play individually in the fall,” he said. “The spring is the team season.  We use all the individual work in the fall to prepare for the spring.”

Both athletes expressed confidence in the team’s abilities going into the spring season.

“We are going to have a really good team,” Taborga said, “We are going to achieve our goals. The whole team chemistry is excellent, with everyone playing at such a high level.”

Doverspike said, “Some teams do better in the fall. Our team performs better in the spring. We come together as a team and play hard. We always have high goals in the spring. We are a big school and always have a lot of good players. The goal is go undefeated in the SEC, and that is what we plan to do.”

The Tide returns to action Jan. 13 to begin the SEC Indoor Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn.