Here is a preview at this weekend's MAC men's tennis action.
Bulls at Penn on Sunday
Bulls Hit Jackpot at Turning Stone to Open Spring Sked: The University at Buffalo men's tennis team got off to a strong start to the spring schedule as the Bulls swept a pair of matches played at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. The Bulls opened play on Friday night with a 7-0 whitewashing of Colgate. UB then followed on Saturday with a 6-1 decision over Bryant. The Bulls, the 2012 Mid-American Conference regular season champions, start the spring season with a 2-0 record.
David Has Undefeated Weekend: Sophomore Damien David opened the spring campaign by winning all four of his matches. David combined with Akhil Mehta in doubles play to defeat Colgate's Nick Laub and Harry Jewett, 8-2. On Saturday, David and Mehta scored an 8-6 win over Ernesto Arguello and Juan Gonzalez-Paz in UB's lone doubles triumph as Bryant captured the doubles point with victories in the number two and three matches. In singles play, David, the 2012 MAC Newcomer of the Year, recorded a three-set victory over Bryant's Max Vogt in the number two singles match. The pair split tiebreakers in the opening two sets before David, rallied for a 6-1 win in the deciding set. The victories over Colgate were special for David as he recorded his 30th singles and 50th combined win in his career.
Hove Moving Up the Charts: With his singles win on Saturday, Vusa Hove moved past Fery Kasiman (1999-2003) for third place on UB's all-time singles win list with 65 and his 109 combined victories now ties him for sixth on the all-time list with Mike Proulx (1993-97). Nick Zieziula (2001-05) with 69 and Mike Rockman (2003-07) with 84 remain in front of Hove on the singles win list.
Welcome Newbies: Head coach Lee Nickell spent the break between the fall and spring seasons on the recruitng trail bringing in four new players. Freshmen Pablo Alvarez and Sergio Arevalillo come to the Bulls from Spain while Ashwin Sharma arrives from Australia. Sebastian Ionescu, a native of Romania, is a sophomore transfer after playing his freshman year at the University of Arizona. Alvarez, Sharma and Ionescu swept their Colgate and Bryant opponents in singles play as they made their debuts with the Bulls.
A Nickell's Worth: Head coach Lee Nickell commented on his team's performance following the Bryant victory. "This weekend was a great test for us. We came out on Friday and played the most complete match I have ever been a part of for this program against Colgate," said Nickell. "Today we were out-coached, but our guys stepped up and overcame a very good Bryant squad who was firing on all cylinders. Our goal as a coaching staff now is to tighten up our doubles play and continue to stress fast starts in both singles and doubles as we prepare to play Penn."
Huskies Await Trio of Opponents
Northern Illinois looks to improve to 5-1 over Dayton, Valpo and UIC
DeKALB, Ill. - Collecting a two victory sweep last weekend in its home openers, the Northern Illinois men's tennis team will hope to advance its record to 5-1 with a trio of matches this weekend, hosting Dayton, Valparaiso and UIC. The Huskies will play the Flyers and the Crusaders Friday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, and follow up with the Flames Sunday at 1 p.m.
In their home opener against UW-Whitewater and Chicago State last Friday, the Huskies made a clean sweep of singles play with a perfect 12-0 mark and surrendered their only point of the weekend in doubles play to the Riverhawks. NIU's Dor Amir and Frederic Cadieux both finished the weekend a flawless 4-0 with two wins apiece in doubles and single.
Cadieux has been Northern Illinois' leader of the pack three matches into the year with a flawless singles record at No. 3, including a compelling three set victory at Minnesota in the season opener Jan. 20. As a team, NIU is 13-5 in its singles lineup this spring.
Dayton has played two matches thus far this year and is an even 1-1, after defeating Robert Morris in its season opener Jan. 25, 6-1, and being swept at Ball State the following evening, 7-0. The Flyers hosted the Colonials last Friday where they secured their win and were on the road against the Cardinals.
Valpo is 3-0 in 2012, defeating both Grace and Chicago State, 7-0, on Jan. 26. The Crusaders opened up their season Jan. 21 against Western Illinois, narrowly defeating the Leathernecks, 4-3. Valparaiso's No. 1 Eric Honert is 3-0 in singles and doubles play so far this season, teaming with Lucas Waak in all of his doubles matches to this point in spring.
The Flames carry a 1-3 record to this point in the year, with their lone victory over Chicago State Jan. 19, 7-0. UIC was last in action on the 26th up in Milwaukee, Wis. falling to Marquette in the contest, 7-0. Illinois-Chicago will open the weekend with a pair of matches up in Madison, Wis. on Feb. 2, taking on both Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Northern Illinois will return to action Feb. 8 and 9 with contests down South at both SIU-Edwardsville and Saint Louis.
Toledo Hits the Road for Three Matches in Three Days
TOLEDO, OH - The Toledo men's tennis team will pack its bags for a three-day road trip this weekend. The Rockets (5-3) are set to challenge Youngstown State (0-1) tomorrow at Noon inside the Boardman Tennis Center. UT will then travel to Pittsburgh for a date with Georgetown on Saturday and a matchup versus host Duquesne on Sunday.
Most recently, the Rockets lost to No. 4 Ohio State last Sunday by a final count of 4-0. Play was stopped inside the OSU Varsity Tennis Courts once the Buckeyes clinched the match with the fourth point.
"I think we're getting tougher," UT Head Coach Al Wermer said. "We have to improve in every spot and I know we will, but it's a process, and the more hard matches we endure, the more we learn to fight back together."
The Rockets fell behind early in singles competition and could not register a winning set against the Bucks. Sophomore Grant Adams played the closest match at the No. 3 slot, losing 5-7 to Connor Smith in the first set before being cut off during the second.
Sophomore Nicky Wong kept the No. 4 singles match competitive as well, playing Ille Van Engelen to the tune of 3-6, 2-3 before also being stopped in the second set.
Last Saturday, UT split a pair of matches on its home court. The Rockets dropped an early match to Binghamton in a close contest inside the Shadow Valley Tennis Club, 4-3. UT rebounded though with a 7-0 sweep of Northwestern Ohio in the nightcap at the Shadow Valley Club at Central.
The Midnight Blue & Gold didn't lose a doubles match on the day while keeping the same lineup in both matches. Sophomores Tomas Stillman and Nicky Wong held down the No. 1 position with an 8-6 win over Binghamton and narrowly passed by UNOH 8-7.
Seniors Bryant Dudzik and Terence Weigand filled the No. 2 spot and won by a score of 8-3 over UNOH. Their doubles match versus Binghamton went unfinished with the score tied at six.
Transfer Francisco Stuardo picked up his first doubles victory with sophomore Grant Adams. The duo defeated Binghamton's No. 3 pair, 8-4, and then came back later on to defeat UNOH by the same margin.
In singles play, Binghamton took four matches over Toledo. Stuardo and Wong collected the only victories at the No. 2 and No. 4 spots by winning in straight sets - 6-4, 6-4.
Each Rocket won in straight sets over the UNOH lineup. Stillman, Adams and Weigand filled the top three spots, while sophomore Roberto Meza, junior Ben Brocker and Dudzik closed out the lineup.
Broncos' Comeback Falls Short Against Princeton
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan men's tennis team rallied late against Princeton, sending four singles matches to full third sets, but the Broncos were unable to pull out the victory over the Tigers in a 5-2 loss at West Hills. With the loss, the Broncos record is evened at 3-3.
Playing against a team that featured the No. 2 singles player in the country in Matija Pecotic, the Broncos trailed the Tigers 3-0 after the first two matches of singles play, but continued to battle and went to full third sets in the remaining singles matches. Ruben Greiner notched his second straight comeback victory in singles, recovering from a first set loss in the No. 4 singles match to beat Augie Bloom 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. The win was the second straight for Greiner, who improved his singles record to 4-2 and his overall record to 8-4.
Aaron Wong was the next Bronco to chip away at the Princeton lead, coming back from a loss in the second set of the No. 3 singles to down Matt Spindler. Wong took the first set 6-4, but was forced into a third set after losing 6-3 in the second. Wong survived a tight third set with Spindler, serving out the set for the 7-5 victory.
Wong's victory cut the Tigers' lead to 3-2, but the Broncos were unable to pull any closer as Ross VanderPloeg and Andrew Cahn each lost hotly contested third sets. VanderPloeg rallied from a set down in the No. 2 singles but ultimately lost 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to Zack McCourt, and Cahn pushed Jonathan Carcione to the limit in the third set before falling 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
The Tigers jumped on the Broncos early in doubles play, earning three victories to take the 1-0 lead in the match. VanderPloeg and Cahn came the closest to victory, but fell 8-6 to Spindler and Dan Davies in the No. 2 doubles match.
Princeton 5, Western Michigan University 2
Jan 31, 2013 at Kalamazoo, Mich. (West Hills Athletic Club)
1. #2 Matija Pecotic (PRINCE) def. Nadin Indre (WMU) 6-3, 6-2
2. Zack McCourt (PRINCE) def. Ross VanderPloeg (WMU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
3. Aaron Wong (WMU) def. Matt Spindler (PRINCE) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
4. Ruben Greiner (WMU) def. Augie Bloom (PRINCE) 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
5. Dan Richardson (PRINCE) def. Pablo Mora (WMU) 6-2, 6-4
6. Jonathan Carcione (PRINCE) def. Andrew Cahn (WMU) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
1. Zack McCourt/Matija Pecotic (PRINCE) def. Ruben Greiner/Nadin Indre (WMU) 8-4
2. Dan Davies/Matt Spindler (PRINCE) def. Ross VanderPloeg/Andrew Cahn (WMU) 8-6
3. Matt Siow/Augie Bloom (PRINCE) def. Aaron Wong/Marc Shideler (WMU) 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,5,4,3,2,6)