Sophomore Dominik Koepfer
April 18, 2014
TULSA, Okla. - The 67st-ranked Tulane men's tennis team, the No. 2 seed in the Conference USA Championships, earned a 4-1 victory over seventh-seeded UAB in the second round on Friday morning at Tulsa's Case Tennis Center counts.
The Green Wave (14-8, 3-2 C-USA) won its first C-USA Tournament match since 2005 and advanced to face No. 3 seed East Carolina in Saturday's semifinal round at Noon CT.
"It's nice to get the monkey off our back, so to speak, in the first round of the conference tourney," Tulane head coach Mark Booras said. "To do it against a team like UAB who has a lot of experience on their squad and they beat us earlier in the year in a tight match on the road, and being a rival of ours, makes it that much sweeter."
Tulane dropped the doubles point and trailed UAB, 1-0, heading into singles, but the Green Wave rallied and took the first four matches to earn the victory. Sophomore Dominik Koepfer secured the match with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, win on court one, while freshmen Sebastian Rey and Jao Chi-Shan earned straight sets wins on court two and three, respectively. Sophomore Alex Van Cott overcame a poor first set on court six and came away with the victory for Tulane's third point.
"What a great win for our team today," Booras added. "We were basically behind all over the place for the first couple of hours of the match but the guys hung in there and kept believing and turned it all around."
Rey earned Tulane's first point of the morning with a, 7-5, 6-2, win over Rafael Rondino after trailing 5-1 in the first set. Chi-Shan won, 6-3, 6-3, over Stepan Vancurik for the second point, while Van Cott defeated Luiz Felipe Pinto, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, for the third point. Koepfer upended 87th-ranked Chris Helliar, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
"Sebastian did a fantastic job coming back from 1-5 down in the first set against a very tough player, to take the set 7-5," Booras said. "At the same time we had Alex and Jao and Takuma all coming back from first set deficits to turn the tables. And Dominik and Ian did a great job winning their first sets. It was really a great atmosphere out there with all the guys hustling and fighting and yelling for the Wave for four hours."
The Green Wave will face ECU on Saturday for the right to play in Sunday's title match at 11 a.m. CT.
"ECU has had a great last couple of weeks of their season and showed it today by winning a tight one," Booras added. "We'll need another complete investment like today in order to be successful tomorrow. It's going to be another tough match but our guys are looking forward to it."