Ceres High School grad Nolan McCaig helped the Midwestern State University-Texas men’s tennis team continue its run of success in 2019.
The Mustangs advanced to the NCAA Division-II Championship Tournament for the second year in a row.
MSU also defended its Lone Star Conference and South Central Regional titles.
“Nothing can compare to making the national tournament—being able to fly and playing against some of the best players and teams,” said McCaig, a sophomore standout. “It’s a great atmosphere. It means a lot just getting there.”
McCaig amassed a 15-8 record in singles play on the season.
"I don’t have too many weaknesses. My opponents have to try really hard to beat me.”Nolan McCaig
“I’ve come a long way since freshman year,” he said. “I’ve become a better all-round player. My return game has improved. I can hit it wherever I want when I need to. I don’t have too many weaknesses. My opponents have to try really hard to beat me.”
Nolan had a 19-4 mark in doubles play.
McCaig and second-year partner Dillon Pineda won 18 of their 21 matches.
The duo earned first-team all-LSC honors for the second year in a row.
“We won the majority of our matches because we were super comfortable playing together,” he said. “Growing up, I was a singles guy. Ever since being in college, I’ve enjoyed doubles more. My game style and strengths work really well in doubles.”
The Mustangs amassed a 20-6 overall record.
Midwestern State repeated as Lone Star Conference and South Central Regional champions.
The Mustangs won 20 matches for the seventh time in program history and recorded back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time since 2000-01.
“I took more of a leadership role on the court this year,” McCaig said. “I tried to set an example for the team, especially the freshmen.”
Midwestern State topped UT Permian Basin 4-0 and Cameron 4-2 at the Lone Star Conference Tournament at the Waco Regional Tennis & Fitness Center.
McCaig and Pineda beat Permian Basin’s Raul Stevens and Jordan Minjoot 6-2 in No. 2 doubles play.
They beat Cameron’s Mritunjay Badola and Przemyslaw Zielinski 7-6 (8-6) in a tiebreaker.
McCaig beat Oscar del Granado 6-4, 6-2 in No. 4 singles play.
Host Midwestern State defeated UT Permian Basin 4-1 for the South Central Regional title.
McCaig and Pineda posted a 6-1 victory against Stevens and Minjoot.
The Mustangs advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Championships at the Sanlando Park Tennis Center in Altamonte, Fla.
Midwestern State earned a hard-fought 4-3 victory while battling No. 19 Indianapolis.
McCaig and Pineda won their doubles matches, 7-5, against Renato Lima and Magnus Mueller.
McCaig lost 6-4, 6-2 to Mueller in singles play.
Midwestern State concluded the season with a 4-1 loss to top-ranked Columbus State in the quarterfinals.
McCaig and Pineda beat Kiranpal Pannu and Tommasco Schold via tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-5), in doubles play.
McCaig lost 6-4, 6-3 to Arnold Kokulewski in singles play.
The Mustangs climbed four spots to 16th in the NCAA Division-II rankings thanks to their strong showing at Nationals.
“We had a pretty good season,” McCaig said. “If we keep improving, we can be a really scary team next season. We want to win the national tournament. That’s the ultimate goal.”