Sept. 12, 2013
De Vilchez Returns for Sophomore SeasonBy David Boyce
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Last fall, Sergio De Vilchez burst on the scene as a fresh-face freshman playing like a grizzled veteran for Northwest Missouri State men’s tennis team.
He teamed up with Lluis Altimires to win the ITA Regional and advanced to the ITA Championship.
“He was the runner-up in the (ITA Regional) singles and he actually turned his ankle in the first game so I’m sure he would like the chance to win the singles this year,” Northwest tennis coach Mark Rosewell said.
De Vilchez, who is from Zaragoza, Spain, played No. 1 singles for the Bearcats last season. In the spring, he helped Northwest win a fourth straight MIAA title, a regional title and reach the NCAA Division II final 16.
“It was awesome,” De Vilchez said. “We had a really good team. We had really good scores. It was really good.”
Despite all that success, De Vilchez returns to Northwest for his sophomore season as humble and as easy-going as he was last season.
How humble? When asked if he could win at least one game in a best-of-three match against recent U.S. Open winner Rafael Nadal, who is from Spain, De Vilchez smiled and quickly shook his head no.
“No chance could I win a game,” he said.
De Vilchez, though, has confidence he can beat his older brother. Rosewell is trying to schedule a match this spring with Wichita State so De Vilchez can face Guillermo De Vilchez, who plays No. 1 singles for the Shockers.
“I beat him before,” he said.
It is easy to tell De Vilchez truly enjoys tennis. He has an easy-going smile whenever he is talking about the sport.
“He is a great player and a great person,” Rosewell said. “The fact we elected him co-captain his sophomore year, which doesn’t happen very much, tells you how much we think of him.”
De Vilchez didn’t play much competitive tennis this summer when he was home, but he was always around the tennis court.
“I was working with young kids, teaching them tennis,” he said. “I loved it. They are really funny, but they enjoy it, too.”
For this season, De Vilchez’s goals are modest. He’s making no bold predictions about the short fall season.
The men’s team will play Friday in the Midwestern Tournament in Wichita Falls, Texas and then travel to Truman State on Sept. 17. Three days later, they will play in the ITA Championships in Springfield, Mo.
“I just want to improve my tennis as much as I can to have a good spring season,” he said. “I want to make it to nationals again in the fall with my doubles partner. I want to hold onto our No. 1 ranking again.”
Rosewell knows he will always get the best from De Vilchez.
“He practices on his own all the time,” Rosewell said. “He puts in running and conditioning. The reason he is so good is because he is hitting more balls than his opponents.”
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