HIALEAH, FL – When ASA Miami’s tennis teams opened its fall practices this three weeks ago, head coach Brian Slack didn’t pull any punches when it came to setting the expectations for his program.
It is “championships or bust”.
While the road to a national championship is a long and winding one, if the Silver Storm’s performances over the past two weekends are any indication – they are fully gassed up for the trip.
ASA Miami’s men traveled to Tifton, Georgia this past weekend and put on a dominant team performance at the ABAC Tennis Complex – overpowering the field to make it an all-ASA semifinal in the doubles division as well as having five of the eight quarterfinalists and three of the four semifinalists in the singles division.
The duo of Andres Cabezas and Toru Horie won the doubles crown over Joshua Rose and Tao Castillo while Horie completely dismantled Eastern Florida State College’s Frederik Orvad 6-1, 6-0 to win the singles title.
Because it was an all-ASA final in doubles, the ITA allowed the Silver Storm to play the final match on its home court Monday morning – instead of Sunday afternoon in Georgia – to accommodate for ASA’s travel arrangements back to South Florida.
Slack, who led ASA Miami’s men’s team to national crowns in 2016 and 2017 as well as a national runner-up spot in 2018, said that just because the final two doubles matches were amongst teammates it didn’t make them any less intense.
“It was really intense, they were really going after one another,” Slack said. “That’s what we need…that was great to see. Having the intensity that high is something that we didn’t have last year. The sophomores are doing a great job of keeping the level of intensity and competition high.”
The men’s performance this past weekend came on the heels of what ASA’s women did the week before.
ASA women’s tennis team also put the Southeast on notice with its performance at the Fall ITA Regional Tournament in Melbourne, Florida September 21-23.
It was an all-Silver Storm final in the doubles division as well as the singles.
Tatiana Simova and Michaela Krauskova defeated Molly Helgesson and Soomin Kim to win the doubles crown while Helgesson topped Simova to win the singles title.
The women’s performance in Melbourne might be a bit more impressive than the men’s in part because the women roster is stocked with only freshmen.
Slack said that there are moments that he can see the women team’s youth show itself but said that team’s overall level of talent is the overriding factor.
“It’s a young group. I’ve had young women’s groups before, so I know what comes with that,” Slack said. “But the talent is definitely there…the future is very bright for this group.”
The added benefit of ASA's dominant performances the past couple of weeks is that all of the players that won championships at the fall regionals, qualify for the ITA Oracle Cup – which will be held in Rome, Georgia October 10-14 – along with setting up many men's and women's players to qualify for at-large bids.