2013 MAC Men's Tennis Championship:
Friday, April 26
No. 1 Ball State 2, No. 4 Northern Illinois 4 Final
No. 2 Western Michigan 4, No. 3 Buffalo 2 Final
Saturday, April 27
Men's Championship, 1:00 pm ET
No. 2 Western Michigan vs. No. 4 Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois 4, Ball State 2 Final
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois men’s tennis team pulled off a huge upset Friday, as they upset number one-seeded Ball State, 4-2, in the Mid-American Conference tournament semi-finals.
With the win, the Huskies improve to 16-8 and will face No. 2 Western Michigan, who topped third-seeded Buffalo, 4-2. NIU also earned their first MAC finals appearance since 2004, while becoming only the second team in MAC history since 2000 to beat a No. 1 seed in the semi-finals.
“(Doubles) was really the difference between us winning and losing today,” said NIU head coach Patrick Fisher. “Both teams came out really tight and nervous, but that’s just a part of playing in championships. This year, I’ve been saying it all year long, any one of these four teams can win.”
“At number one (doubles), they stepped up for us. Max (Phillips) played unbelievable for us in doubles and that was a huge lift for us.”
NIU got on the board first against the top-seeded Cardinals by winning two tightly-contested doubles matches. After dropping second doubles, Frederic Cadieux and Max Phillips knotted things up by defeating BSU’s Ray Leonard and Pat Elliott, 8-6. Dor Amir and Simon Formont clinched the doubles point via a 9-8 tiebreaker against Imanol Arconada and Alex Brym.
Ball State moved ahead with a 2-1 lead following wins at #4 and #5 singles. Yet, NIU battled back against the Cardinals. At top singles, Axel Lagerlof put forth one of his best matches of the season by knocking off BSU’s Ray Leonard in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
The Huskies reclaimed the lead with an unconventional win at #2 singles. After dropping the first set, Cadieux battled back in the second set and held a commanding 5-0 lead. That is when his opponent, Cliff Morrison, injured his ankle and was forced to retire, giving NIU a critical third point with two matches left.
Amir, the sophomore from Tel Aviv, Israel, put away the Cardinals with a great comeback. Following a first set win, Amir was forced to battle back from an early deficit against Dalton Albertin in the second set. However, the Huskie rallied and took a 6-5 lead before Albertin forced a tiebreak situation. With the added pressure, Amir delivered with a 7-4 tiebreaker win to send the Huskies into Saturday’s championship match.
The MAC title match between NIU and WMU will take place at 1 p.m. on the Huskie Tennis Courts. If inclement weather comes, the match will be moved to the Vaughan Athletic Center in Aurora, Ill.
#4 Northern Illinois 4, #1 Ball State 2
No. 1: Axel Lagerlof (NIU) def. Ray Leonard (BSU) 6-3, 6-2 No. 2: Frederic Cadieux (NIU) def. Cliff Morrison (BSU) 3-6, 5-0 Retired No. 3: Dor Amir (NIU) def. Dalton Albertin (BSU) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) No. 4: Imanol Arconada (BSU) def. Jovan Zeljkovic (NIU) 6-2, 6-3 No. 5: Pat Elliott (BSU) def. Max Phillips (NIU) 6-0, 6-1 No. 6: Simon Formont (NIU) vs. Austin Smith (BSU) 6-2, 4-6, 2-1 Unfinished
No. 1: Frederic Cadieux/Max Phillips (NIU) def. Ray Leonard/Pat Elliott (BSU) 8-6 No. 2: Dalton Albertin/Cliff Morrison (BSU) def. Axel Lagerlof/Jovan Zeljkovic (NIU) 8-3 No. 3: Dor Amir/Simon Formont (NIU) def. Imanol Arconada/Alex Brym (BSU) 9-8 (7-4)
Western Michigan 4, Buffalo 2 Final
DEKALB, Ill. - The Western Michigan men's tennis team reached the finals of the Mid-American Conference tournament for the second consecutive season, as the Broncos defeated the Buffalo Bulls 4-2 at the Huskie Tennis Courts on the campus of Northern Illinois. With the win, the Broncos improve to 18-9 on the season, and will face the hosting NIU Huskies in the finals on Saturday on 1 p.m.
The Broncos' win was sparked by a comeback win in doubles play; despite trailing in No. 2 doubles, the Broncos surged back and took the doubles session thanks to a pair of wins at the bottom of the line-up. Jim Beckwith and Aaron Wong downed Sebastian Ionescu and Akhil Mehta 9-7 in the No. 2 doubles match, with Ross VanderPloeg and Andrew Cahn winning an exciting 9-8 (4) tiebreaker in the No. 3 doubles match to give the Broncos the opening point.
Cahn and Pablo Mora gave the Broncos the lead with wins in the singles session, putting the Broncos in position to clinch the match with just one more win. Cahn made short work of Sergio Arevalillo in the No. 5 singles match, winning 6-3, 6-0, while Mora won a tight second set against Mehta to win 6-3, 7-5 at the No. 6 singles position.
The match was clinched by VanderPloeg, who survived a tight first set with Damien David at the No. 2 singles position before cruising in the second set. VanderPloeg took control of the situation in the second frame, winning 7-5, 6-2 to clinch the match.
#2 Western Michigan 4, #3 Buffalo 2
No. 1: Vusa Hove (UB) def. Nadin Indre (WMU) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
No. 2: Ross VanderPloeg (WMU) def. Damien David (UB) 7-5, 6-2
No. 3: Sebastian Ionescu (UB) vs. Aaron Wong (WMU) 7-6 (7-5), 2-1, unfinished
No. 4: Pablo Alvarez (UB) def. Ruben Greiner (WMU) 6-4, 6-2
No. 5: Andrew Cahn (WMU) def. Sergio Arevalillo (UB) 6-3, 6-0
No. 6: Pablo Mora (WMU) def. Akhil Mehta (UB) 6-3, 7-5
No. 1: Vusa Hove/Damien David (UB) def. Nadin Indre/Ruben Greiner (WMU) 8-1
No. 2: Jimmy Beckwith/Aaron Wong (WMU) def. Sebastian Ionescu/Akhil Mehta (UB) 9-7
No. 3: Ross VanderPloeg/Andrew Cahn (WMU) def. Yevginey Shkodnik/Sergio Arevalillo (UB) 9-8 (7-4)