Story courtesy of Buffalo and Western Michigan Sports Information
Buffalo 4, Toledo 1
MUNCIE, IN - After being denied of the opening doubles point in heartbreaking fashion, the University at Buffalo men's tennis team rallied to win four consecutive singles matches and defeat Toledo, 4-1, in the semifinal round of the Mid-American Conference Championships at Ball State's Cardinal Creek Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.
With the win, the Bulls move into their first ever MAC Championship match and will face the winner of the other semifinal between Ball State and Western Michigan.
After losing the doubles point, the Bulls came back to take the opening set in all six singles matches and quickly put three contests in the bank with victories at sixth, second and fourth singles.
Sophomore Alex Kalinin (Naberezhyne Chelny, Russia/Naberezhyne Chelny School 11) tied the match at 1-1 when he defeated Toledo's Bryant Dudzik, 6-1, 6-3, at sixth singles. The Bulls then took a 2-1 lead when junior Marcelo Mazzetto (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Carlos Magno) knocked off Sven Burus, 6-2, 6-4, in the number two match. Freshman George Tibil (Bucharest, Romania/Institut des Dames de Marie) put the Bulls in the driver's seat with his 6-2, 6-3 victory over Leo Sarria in the number four match.
With the Bulls holding a 3-1 lead and three matches remaining unfinished, gaining the clinching point became tense as the number one, three and five matches were very close. Roughly an hour after taking the 3-1 win, the Bulls earned the fourth point. After claiming a 7-5 victory in the first set of the number five contest, freshman Vusa Hove (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. George's College) put the Bulls into the finals as he rallied from a 5-4 deficit in the second set to win the next three games and down Gursher Harika, 7-5.
As the Bulls won the deciding match, the two matches that were still ongoing were abandoned. Sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz (Warsaw, Poland/Miguel de Cervantes) was in a second-set tiebreaker of the number one match against Aleksandar Elezovic. Starakiewicz won the opening set in a 7-4 tiebreaker. In the number three match, Kirill Kolomyts (Moscow, Russia/Moscow High School 155) and Nutthavit Likitkumchorn had split their first two sets, exchanging 6-4 decisions. Kolomyts trailed in the third set, 5-3, when play was abandoned.
The Bulls needed to rally for the four singles wins after losing the doubles point. UB won at third doubles as Hove and Mitch Zenaty (Fairport, NY/Fairport) easily downed Dudzik and Terence Weigand, 8-3, in the first of the three matches to reach conclusion. The first and second doubles matches were extremely tight. The number one match was decided in a 9-7 tiebreaker as Kolomyts and Mazzetto fell to Burus and Elezovic. Toledo clinched the point as Likitkumchorn and Sarria downed Starakiewicz and Tibil by a 9-7 margin.
"I'm extremely proud of our fight. We came back after losing a doubles point," said UB head coach Lee Nickell. "We have things that we need to tweak in dubs and hopefully we'll get them together before our match tomorrow, but to come out like we did and win the first set of every singles match put us in a position to win. There's nothing more that I could ask from these guys. We've got a tough match tomorrow and we're excited. "
Both teams battled sustained winds of 20 mph, the uppermost limit that a match can be contested on outdoor courts. Friday's second semifinal match was moved indoors to the Muncie YMCA because of the winds and higher gusts.
"The conditions were adverse today but we're a better outdoor team and I think that when the wind is like this, the team did a great job of handling it," commented Nickell.
Buffalo 4, Toledo 1
1 Sven Burus/Aleksandar Elezovic (UT) d. Kirill Kolomyts/Marcelo Mazzetto (UB), 9-8 (7)
2 Nutthavit Likitkumchorn/Leo Sarria (UT) d. Wojciech Starakiewicz/George Tibil (UB), 9-7
3 Vusa Hove/Mitch Zenaty (UB) d. Bryant Dudzik/Terrence Weigand (UT), 8-3 Order of finish: 3, 1, 2 Singles
1 Wojciech Starakiewicz (UB) led Aleksandar Elezovic (UT), 7-6 (4), 6-6 DNF
2 Marcelo Mazzetto (UB) d. Sven Burus (UT), 6-2, 6-4
3 Nutthavit Likitkumchorn (UT) led Kirill Kolomyts (UB), 4-6, 6-4, 5-3 DNF
4 George Tibil (UB) d. Leo Sarria (UT), 6-2, 6-3
5 Vusa Hove (UB) d. Gursher Harika (UT), 7-5, 7-5
6 Alex Kalinin (UB) d. Bryant Dudzik (UT), 6-1, 6-3 Order of finish: 6, 2, 4, 5
Western Michigan 4, Ball State 2
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The third-seeded Western Michigan men's tennis team defeated second-seeded Ball State, 4-2, in the semifinals of the 2010 Mid-American Conference Championships at Ball State on Friday afternoon. The Broncos (20-10) advance to play regular season champion Buffalo (13-6) in the championship match on Saturday at 1 p.m. with a berth in the 2010 NCAA Championships on the line.
The match was moved indoors to the Muncie YMCA Tennis Center because of high winds exceeding 25 miles per hour in the area.
"It was a good match and I've got to give credit to Ball State for playing well," head coach Dave Morin said. "I thought we played okay, but I've also seen us play a lot better and we'll have to against Buffalo."
Ball State took the early lead in doubles with an 8-4 victory at No. 1, but junior Casey Cullen and sophomore Pablo Olivarez breezed to an 8-3 win at No. 3 for Cullen's 32nd doubles win of the season and the eighth win in a row for the tandem.
The match came down to No. 2 doubles where junior Kazuya Komada and sophomore Zeyad Montasser led, 7-5, with chances to win, but let the Cardinals (16-10) battle back to force a tiebreaker. The Broncos regrouped and won the tiebreaker, 9-8 (3), to put the Broncos on top, 1-0.
WMU also won the doubles point in the regular season meeting against the Cardinals, but let several big leads in singles get away as BSU staged a dramatic comeback.
The Broncos won four of six first sets in the singles on Friday to take command of the match, but still let the Cardinals hang around in some matches.
At the top of the lineup, however, the Broncos were able to push the lead to 3-0 with a nearly simultaneous finish by Komada and Michael Calderone at No. 2 and No. 1.
Komada won 6-3, 6-3 over Cliff Morrison, while Calderone bounced back from his doubles setback to become the first MAC player this season to defeat BSU's Eduardo Pavia 6-3, 7-5.
"Mike came up big for us today with that win over Pavia," Morin said. "He's taken some losses recently that have really hit him hard and I think he lost some confidence. You didn't see that today though. He was mentally strong and this is huge for us going forward into the championship match. I also can't leave out Kaz. He's just been rock solid for us all year and we really needed both of his wins today."
The Cardinals wouldn't go down quietly as tournament hosts and mounted a comeback with straight set wins at No. 6 and No. 4 to make things interesting, 3-2, by cutting the margin to one.
The Broncos wouldn't let the Cardinals complete another dramatic comeback this season as freshman Simon Blomberg won his 27th singles match of the season to tie Calderone for the team high with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Shaun Bussert at No. 5 to seal the victory.
"I'm proud of the guys and we'll take the win, but we need to take the next step forward and play a complete match without taking points off," Morin said. "We've done a good job of building leads, but tomorrow we need to do a better job of staying aggressive and not getting cautious when we get ahead."
The Broncos lost to the Bulls, 4-3, in Buffalo on April 3. The Broncos trailed, 3-0, the entire match, but fought back to even the score at three before dropping the final match on the court. Buffalo will be playing in its first conference tournament final, while the Broncos are striving for their fifth consecutive tournament victory and trip to the NCAA Championships.
#3 Western Michigan 4, #2 Ball State 2
Apr 30, 2010 at Muncie, Ind. (Muncie YMCA Tennis Center)
Western Michigan 20-10
Ball State 16-10
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,1,6,4,5)
Thursday, April 29
10:00 a.m. No. 3 Western Michigan vs. No. 6 Chicago State (Western Michigan W)
2:00 p.m. No. 4 Toledo vs. No. 5 Northern Illinois (Toledo W)
Friday, April 30
10:00 a.m. No. 4 Toledo vs. No. 1 Buffalo (Buffalo W)
2:00 p.m. No. 2 Ball State vs. No. 3 Western Michigan (Western Michigan W)
Saturday, May 1
1:00 p.m. MAC Champion--No. 1 Buffalo vs. No. 3 Western Michigan