Men’s tennis showcases depth in run to NIT finals

University of the Pacific men's tennis program capped off a historic season with a run for the NIT finals.

University of the Pacific men's tennis program capped off a historic season with a run for the NIT finals.

Playing without its No. 1 singles and doubles player, the University of the Pacific men’s tennis program made a deep run to the championship match of the UTR Sports National Tennis Invitational postseason tournament at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The shorthanded Tigers, who were without senior captain Peter Alam ’24 who was out with an injury, knocked off Eastern Kentucky in the quarterfinals before sweeping No. 56 Liberty, the defending NIT champion, in the semifinals. Pacific battled in the championship match against No. 68 Tulsa, finishing as runner-up.

“To beat the defending champions the way we did was truly impressive,” said head coach Robin Goodman. “We had been dealing with a couple of injuries and to beat a top-60 program without a full lineup was great to see. This has given the team a lot of confidence going into next season.”

The Tigers entered the tournament ranked No. 60 in the country and will find out their final ranking Tuesday. It came on a metamorphic rise for the program, which went 5-15 last season and could not even field a team in Goodman’s first year in 2020-21.

“This was a phenomenal experience for us,” Goodman said. “The tournament was very well organized. It has improved our national ranking, allowed us to develop from previous matches and was a fantastic trip for team culture.”

Goodman, the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, turned it around this season with a 19-6 (5-3 WCC) record and guided the program to its first national ranking since 2016.

The Tigers made their deepest postseason run in program history and did it with everyone moving up a court due to Alam’s absence.

“Personally, for me it was frustrating having to sit out through injury,” said Alam, who finished the year 12-3 at No. 1 singles. “It was a new challenge to help the team from the sidelines and I’m proud of the effort from the guys.”

The Tigers garnered big contributions from others who stepped up when the team needed it. Sophomore Terence Das ’26, senior Ran Amar ’24 and freshman Tommy Czaplinski ’27 all won their singles matches against EKU and Liberty at No. 3, 4 and 6 singles, respectively. Czaplinski won every singles match of the tournament and pulled off a victory in the finals at No. 6 to make the most of his opportunity in the lineup.

Pacific also had to mix-and-match its doubles teams. The tandems of Trainauskas and Amar at No. 1 doubles, and senior Andre Rodeia ’24 and freshman Christof Schaertlin Coffey ’27 at No. 3 won the Tigers the doubles point against Liberty.

“As a team, we were extremely happy and proud to compete in such a great postseason tournament. We had some big wins this season, and to add to that this week was amazing,” Alam said. “On behalf of all the guys I can say that we loved the trip, and hopefully the team can continue to improve in the coming years.”

Alam was one of four men’s tennis student-athletes to graduate Saturday at commencement along with Amar, Rodeia and Manroop Saini ’23. Each earned a degree in finance, including Saini who earned his master’s.