Freshman Jao Chi-Shan
Feb. 16, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The 73rd-ranked Tulane men's tennis team couldn't have gotten any closer to a win without winning in Saturday's 4-3 loss to Conference USA rival UAB at the Lakewood Tennis Center.
The Green Wave (5-2, 0-1 C-USA) and the Blazers (3-3, 1-0 C-USA) went down to the final point in the third set of the sixth singles to decide the winner.
On court two, Tulane's Sebastian Rey and UAB's Chris Helliar, the nation's 86th ranked player, battled into a tiebreaker in the third set with the team score knotted at 3-3 before Helliar secured the victory, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4-0), win on court two.
"It hurts to lose a match like this because we did so much, so well, to turn things around from deficits all over the place and then have match point on our racket to win the whole thing," Tulane head coach Mark Booras said. "But this is what competition is all about. I am so proud of our guys for investing everything they had today to get us in a position to win."
Tulane dropped the doubles points to start the match, but battled back and won the first three singles points behind solid performances by Dominik Koepfer, Jao Chi-Shan and Alex Van Cott. The Green Wave just could not secure the fourth and final point needed for the win.
"Just like I told the guys afterwards, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger," Booras added. "This type of experience is invaluable and something you can't create in any practice scenario. And to have a freshman and sophomores in tough positions in the lineup compete that well under that kind of pressure on the road is very encouraging for the future of our program. I am very encouraged by the tenacity of our guys to fight from start to finish today."
Koepfer and Alex Van Cott both remained perfect this spring with their singles wins. Koepfer defeated UAB's Rafael Rondino, 7-5, 6-2, on court one, while Van Cott got past Luiz Felipe Pinto, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, on court six. Chi-Shan upended Lucas Dirube, 6-1, 6-1, on court four.
Tulane will return to action on Sunday when they face Samford at 1 p.m. CT at the Samford Tennis Center.
"Tomorrow we will have another tough match and we'll need to process this all very efficiently tonight so we can bounce back tomorrow and pick up a tough road win," Booras concluded.