NMMI Sports Press
PLANO, Texas — Bronco tennis player Noureldin Adam didn’t get the top finish he was looking for at the NJCAA national tennis tourney Friday, but his second place in Flight 2 singles still was the best for any NMMI netter in several decades.
Adam fell 6-2, 6-1 to the No. 1 seed, Nicholas Rouanet of ASA Miami — the team that led the standing through four days of competition — and while second place wasn’t what anyone really wanted, coach William O’Connell had nothing but praise for the freshman.
“Ultimately we played a very, very good player, who actually lost in the finals of Flight 1 last year,” the coach said. “He was just very stingy. Extremely good defense. Moved super well and I guess his defense was too good for our offense and as the match progressed we started to second-guess our shot selection. His defense put a lot of pressure on us, and unfortunately we couldn’t execute as well as we would have liked. But Adam played extremely well.”
Adam himself — who finished well above his No. 5 seeding — sounded happy with the results.
“I feel proud that I got to this level, to the finals, because this is my first time to play at nationals,” he said. “I was kind of nervous. There were a lot of good players. I didn’t imagine myself getting this far. So I’m so proud and happy.”
O’Connell said those nerves didn’t show at all.
“His composure again: there was no nervousness; no ‘I’m happy with second, I’m ready to settle.’ He was in it to win it. Unfortunately we came up against a better player who played extremely well today and hat’s off to him.”
Adam will be the only returner to the Bronco squad next year, and that includes O’Connell, who’s heading to England to earn his masters while also playing the sport he grew up with.
That makes the final day of 2016 NMMI tennis bittersweet, but he knows the team will be solid even without him.
“Very tough (decision), especially with how it looks like we’re going to be surrounding Adam with awesome players,” O’Connell said. “Next year is definitely going to be a big year for NMMI tennis and sad that I won’t be a part of it, but Adam’s shown he can go out and play with the nation’s best players and beat all but one. He’s a trailblazer. He’s paved the way, and regardless of whether I’m here next year, he knows what he needs to do to get back to this place or get back to the finals. And I’m sure he will lead the team and let them know what they need to do as well, to make sure they’re ready for nationals.”
Adam is equally sad, giving the coach praise for helping him throughout the season.
“I thank coach O’Connell for everything, because he’s one of the biggest reasons I made it this far. He pulled for the program the whole semester long. He handled our motivation; the physical side; everything was just awesome and I thank him so much for this.”
NJCAA Men’s Tennis Nationals
Flight 2, championship — Nicholas Rouanet, ASA Miami, def. Noureldin Adam, 6-2, 6-1.