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Trey Mallory helps UNC Wilmington to retain title

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Trey Mallory and his University of North Carolina at Wilmington team-mates celebrate winning a third straight Colonial Athletic Association Conference title and ninth overall on Sunday (Photograph courtesy of University of North Carolina at Wilmington)

Trey Mallory is thrilled to be reaping the fruits of his labour with his fellow University of North Carolina at Wilmington team-mates.

The Seahawks secured their spot in the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship after clinching a third successive Colonial Athletic Association men’s title, and ninth overall, courtesy of a convincing 4-1 win over Elon University on Sunday.

“We worked hard for this all semester, training really hard,” an elated Mallory told The Royal Gazette. “There have been times that we didn’t want to train but we had to.

“I just think it was all worth it in the end and I am just happy, not only for myself, but also for the team.”

Trey Mallory proudly shows off the Colonial Athletic Association Conference Trophy (Photograph courtesy of University of North Carolina at Wilmington)

The No. 3 team of Gabe Hurtado and Bekhzod Rasamatov defeated Elon’s Ben Zipay and Nicholas Contos, 6-1, before Reece Falck and Alex de Gabriele, playing in the No, 2 doubles slot, clinched the point with a 6-4 win over Oskar Antinheimo and Veljko Krstic.

Junior Rasamatov and sophomore Harold Huens then won their singles matches against Contos and Nicholas Campbell to place the defending champions firmly in the driver’s seat with a commanding 3-0 advantage.

The Phoenix managed to pull one back at the top of the draw before Bermudian sophomore Mallory outlasted Zipay, 7-6, 1-6, 6-2, in the No. 6 singles contest to clinch the first-to-four points series.

“That was a good feeling and was definitely one of my career highlights,” Mallory added.

“Clinching it for the team, there is not many better feelings in tennis than that, and I will be more than happy to be in those situations again. Winning it for the team is an honour.”

L-R: Gabe Hurtado, Bekhzod Rasamatov, Reece Falck and Trey Mallory (Photograph courtesy of University of North Carolina at Wilmington)
Trey Mallory and doubles partner Drew Broadstreet (Photograph courtesy of University of North Carolina at Wilmington)

Mallory said the scoreline was not a fair reflection of the match.

“I’d say the score was closer than it seemed because the other two matches were in a tight three-setter, which could have gone either way,” he added. “So I think, without me winning, it could’ve been a lot tighter for us.”

Mallory and his team-mates demonstrated their versatility after being forced to play two of their three matches indoors due to rain.

“It was a big adjustment for us because it was only our third match indoors, and it felt like a whole different surface,” the 21-year-old said.

“The ball moves a lot faster than outdoors but I think we adjusted pretty well while the team we were playing against is also more used to playing indoors than we are. We just stuck in there, fought and we got the win.”

Mait DuBois, the UNCW head coach, also hailed his team’s ability to overcome the challenge.

“Playing two of the three matches in the tournament indoors shows what kind of team we have. The guys just stepped up to the challenge,” he commented on the school’s website.

“We always have a battle with Elon. They play hard and have talented players. We've enjoyed the rivalry, it brings out the best in both teams.

"We're going to enjoy the moment and get some rest. We're going to keep doing what we've been doing. These guys love playing the best teams. We'll be excited about playing in the NCAA Tournament."

Mallory reckons his team is better than the one eliminated by Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year.

“I think we have a better chance of doing better than last year because I think the team is getting better and better,” he said. “We are just going to do our best and see what we can do.

“I think the line-up has changed a little bit. We have a couple of new players from last year so the doubles pairs and singles line-ups are a bit different and I think it’s working for the better.

“We just have to keep the same line-ups and do what we got to do and keep on playing our game.”

Mallory takes great pleasure in competing against some of the best players in the United States at this level.

“It’s the best in the US so this is the level I think everyone wants to play at,” he added. “Our whole team wants to play at this level and it’s just nice to see the best of the country, and competing with them is even better.”

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Published May 02, 2023 at 7:21 am (Updated May 02, 2023 at 7:21 am)

Trey Mallory helps UNC Wilmington to retain title

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