WATCH VIDEO OF BUFFALO MEN'S TENNIS COACH LEE NICKELL
MUNCIE, IN - The University at Buffalo men's tennis claimed its first Mid-American Conference regular season title with a 4-3 win over previously unbeaten Ball State to earn the top seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and finish with an unblemished 5-0 conference mark.
The Bulls (12-5, 5-0) defeated the Cardinals (14-9, 2-1) for the first time in program history and clinched the victory by winning the opening doubles point and the first three matches to be completed. After the Bulls jumped out to a 4-0 lead on the Cardinals, Ball State won the next three matches for the final 4-3 margin.
Junior Marcelo Mazzetto (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Carlos Magno) won the clinching singles match with his win over Clfff Morrison. Mazzetto won a second-set tiebreaker, 8-6, as he downed Morrison in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (6). Senior Kirill Kolomyts (Moscow, Russia/Moscow High School 155) knocked off Andres Monroy in the number three match, 6-4, 6-4 to give UB a 3-0 edge. Freshman George Tibil (Bucharest, Romania/Institut des Dames de Marie) downed Alex Brym, 6-3, 6-0, at fourth singles to get the ball rolling for the Bulls.
Kolomyts and Mazzetto combined to win the number one doubles match with an 8-4 victory over Eduardo Pavia and Zane Smith. Tibil and Wojciech Starakiewicz (Warsaw, Poland/Miguel de Cervantes) defeated Monroy and Dalton Albertin, 9-7, in the number two match to claim the doubles point and give the Bulls a 1-0 lead.
"I'm as proud as I can be of these young men," said first-year head coach Lee Nickell. "They stepped up and the success of the season is a collective team effort. For Marcelo and Kirill to come through in singles, clinch this match and take it is the best part."
The Bulls have one regular season match remaining at Cleveland State tomorrow at 2:00 pm. The Vikings (17-6) defeated Horizon League rival Detroit, 7-0, on Saturday to remain undefeated in league play making tomorrow's match a challenge for the Bulls.
"We set this weekend up especially to prepare for the MAC tournament," said Nickell. "You have one tough match after another. We're excited to play another tough team."
The regular season crown is the second outright title won by the Bulls and the first undefeated conference season for a UB program. UB's women's soccer team won the first MAC regular season title in 2000. The men's tennis team also joins the women's tennis, men's basketball and football programs to win a MAC title.
Nickell also said "we want to thank the alumni, fans and other supporters who were behind us this year. This was a collective effort by more than just this team."
UB is assured of the top spot in the MAC Tournament, April 29-May 1 in Muncie, IN thanks to the unbeaten MAC record. The remainder of the league has another weekend of conference play to determine the final seedings for the tournament.