Bulls Fall to Western Michigan in MAC Men’s Tennis Title Tilt
MAUMEE, OH – The University at Buffalo's men's tennis season came to a premature end on Saturday afternoon as the top-seeded Bulls were defeated by third-seed Western Michigan, 4-0, in the Mid-American Conference title match held at the Shadow Valley Tennis Club. The Bulls finish the season with an 11-10 overall record.
The Bulls started slow surrendering the doubles point with losses in the number one and three matches. UB scored a doubles win from Damien David and Travis Zappia in the number two match as the tandem defeated Pablo Olivarez and Aaron Wong, 8-5.
Western Michigan closed out the match with singles wins, all in straight sets, at numbers one, three and four. The Bulls led in two of the matches that were left unfinished. Vusa Hove, at number two, was at match point in his contest with Zeyad Montasser when play was stopped. Hove led his opponent, 6-3, 5-4. Hove had won his last 12 straight singles contests and was one of two UB players who were named to the MAC's All-Tournament team. Jason Simon, playing in the sixth slot for the Bulls on Saturday, led his match against Wong, 6-3, 2-5, when play was stopped.
Besides Hove, Alex Kalinin earned All-Tournament recognition. It was the third consecutive season that Kalinin was named to the All-Tournament team as the senior closed out his career with 55 singles victories in his four seasons with the Bulls. The match also concluded the career of senior Wojceich Starakiewicz, who picked up 49 wins in three seasons with the team. Hove, Kalinin and Starakiewicz had three of UB's four singles wins as the Bulls rallied to defeat Ball State in Friday's semifinal after dropping the opening point.
This was the Bulls' second appearance in the MAC Championship match in the past three seasons. The Bulls fell to Western Michigan in the 2010 title match. UB tennis teams have competed in five MAC Championship matches, all against Western Michigan. The women's team defeated the Broncos in the 2008 title match for UB's lone win against WMU in MAC finals.
"It hurts that we lost today but all the credit goes to Western Michigan. It was a battle of mental toughness and they were mentally tougher than we were today," said UB head coach Lee Nickell. " I couldn't be prouder of this group of guys for fighting like they did to get us into the championship match. I'd like to thank Wojciech Starakiewicz and Alex Kalinin for the three great years they put into this program."
3-Western Michigan 4, 1-Buffalo 0
MAC Championship Match
1. Zeyad Montasser/Nadin Indre (WMU) def. Wojciech Starakiewicz/Vusa Hove (UB), 8-4
2. Damien David/Travis Zappia (UB) def. Pablo Olivarez/Aaron Wong (WMU), 8-5
3. Ross Vandderploeg/Simone Blomberg (WMU) def. Alex Kalinin/Ivan Vereshchaga (UB), 8-3
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1. Nadin Indre (WMU) def. Damien David (UB), 6-4, 6-2
2. Vusa Hove (UB) led Zeyad Montasser (WMU), 6-3, 5-4, abandoned
3. Pablo Olivarez (WMU) def. Wojciech Starakiewicz (UB), 6-2, 6-4
4. Ross Vanderploeg (WMU) def. Ivan Vereshchaga (UB), 6-4, 6-4
5. Simon Blomberg (WMU) led Alex Kalinin (UB), 6-1, 5-4, abandoned
6. Jason Simon (UB) led Aaron Wong (WMU), 6-3, 2-5, abandoned
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 3