One of the longest running debates in any and every facet of college athletics centers on the youth-versus-experience dilemma.

A coach’s preference could be for a largely underclassman squad — that is, a guaranteed high percentage of returning athletes in future seasons. But they would also want a team that in the present lacks the fundamental base of big-game exposure essential to perform in high-pressure situations. Or would a seasoned unit, one with game experience to compete in the now yet limited seasons remaining in the tank, be more attractive?

Luckily for the UR tennis teams, their coaches don’t have to wonder. For while neither squad is loaded with a crop of young talent nor a surplus of long-tested competitors, the Yellowjackets have something else this year: a solid representation from all the classes, the best of both worlds.

This past weekend, the two diversely seasoned, yet fully capable squads made their first appearance in what is sure to be a promising and successful season. The male side hosted the Flower City Tournament with Nazareth College, while the women traveled to William Smith College to take part in the Mary Hosking Tournament.

The men faced several challenges including the graduation of their No. 1 player, the absence of sophomore Austin Armstrong due to illness and a second-round loss to Roberts Wesleyan College a day earlier that pitted them against the Hobart College Statesmen in the consolation round.

And the men were in dire need of someone to step into a large pair of shoes. That someone just so happened to be freshman Boris Borovcanin.

“What was most exciting was Boris’s performance at first singles,” senior captain Jeff Zink said. “It’s good to know that we now have someone who can consistently get wins at that position.”

Indeed, with Borovcanin at the helm, UR made quick work of the Statesmen to claim third — a huge improvement on last year’s fifth-place finish.

The freshman nabbed a 6-3, 6-3 win at first singles, and upped the ante by combining with sophomore Brian Rice to take an 8-1 victory at second doubles.

Meanwhile, Zink was pulling his own weight at both second singles and third doubles. After a 6-3, 6-3 win at singles, Zink paired with junior Matt Volkov to capture a hard-fought third doubles title, 9-7.

Junior Brian Schmeer wrapped up the day with a 6-1, 6-4 victory at singles.

Unlike at Flower City, the Mary Hosking Tournament didn’t feature a head-to-head format, but rather a bracket-style competition in which winners from a large number of schools advanced to one round after the next. This made UR’s showing at singles all the more impressive, as the women claimed three of four possible singles finale spots and took home both titles.

“Our team has always been a strong singles team, and I think we proved that this is still the case,” junior Jamie Bow said. “[Senior] Lia [Weiner] and [sophomore] Frances [Tseng] duked it out in the A Singles final, which Frances won 8-1.”

Tseng tacked on a second win in doubles — an 8-5 win with the help of junior Alex Goodman. Bow didn’t come up short either, taking the B Singles title with an 8-3 victory.

Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014.



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