Men's Tennis Riding Momentum Into MAC Championships
BUFFALO, NY – With a current five-match winning streak under its belt, the University at Buffalo men's tennis team heads into this weekend's Mid-American Conference Championships in Kalamazoo, MI riding the momentum of a 6-1 record during the month of April.
A year after winning the league's regular season title and reaching the championship match for the first time in school history, the third-seeded Bulls (11-7, 3-2 MAC) look to continue their success as they begin play on Thursday morning with a quarterfinal match against sixth-seeded Chicago State (0-5, 0-19 MAC).
The Bulls have four singles players with more than 10 victories this season headed by sophomore Vusa Hove with a team-high 20 wins from his second singles slot. Hove has won four consecutive matches, including a pair of third-set wins, to help the Bulls on their winning streak. In just a season and a half, his 33 career singles wins rank among UB's all-time top 20.
Sixth singles Alex Kalinin and first singles Wojceich Starakiewicz have 15 and 14 victories, respectively, while freshman Jason Simon, at fifth singles, picked up his 10th win of the year in Sunday's regular season finale against Northern Illinois, scoring the clinching point that gave the Bulls the third seed. Simon joined the team at the beginning of the second semester and has compiled a 10-4 mark in dual meet play.
Senior Marcelo Mazzetto, a two-time All-MAC Second Team honoree has nine wins in singles play with two of his victories coming in both of his three-set matches this season. His three-set victory in UB's win at Furman helped him earn the MAC's Player of the Week honor. Earning his 58th career singles victory on Sunday, Mazzetto moved past Kirill Kolomyts into fifth place on the Bulls' all-time list. He is also fourth on UB's all-time doubles wins list with 52.
The Bulls welcomed back George Tibil into the lineup last weekend after the sophomore missed two months with an injury. Tibil also returned to the doubles lineup as he and Hove head into the league tournament with a 6-0 record as a pair. UB's number one doubles combination of Starakiewicz and Mitch Zenaty are 7-4, including a 4-1 mark in MAC play. The number two tandem of Mazzetto and Travis Zappia are 7-5 this spring with a 3-2 MAC record.
"We are very excited to have this momentum going into the MAC tournament," said UB head coach Lee Nickell. "We learned a lot from last year's tournament and have conquered a great deal of adversity this year and we are prepared for our first round match against Chicago State."
The Bulls face the Cougars at 10:00 am on Thursday. The winner will face second-seeded Toledo (23-9, 4-1 MAC) at 2:00 pm on Friday. The championship match at Western Michigan's Sorensen Courts is slated for Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm.