Alberto Sottocorno's ace on match point lifted the Green Wave to an NCAA First Round victory on Friday. [File photo by Ned Dishman]
May 13, 2005
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Tulane men's tennis team road a balanced team attack into the NCAA Tournanent and did not change things on Friday in its first round match at LSU's W.T. Robinson Tennis Stadium. In a hard-fought match, the 20th-ranked Green Wave won two matches at the top and two at the bottom of the singles lineup to hold off No. 42 UL-Lafayette, 4-2.
Tulane advances to play host and ninth-ranked LSU at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
The Green Wave improves to 22-5 on the season, establishing a new school record for victories. The Ragin' Cajuns close the year with a 12-8 record.
"We knew it would be an exciting and tough match," Tulane head coach Robert Klein said. "We're pleased with the result but I am expecting us to play better tennis tomorrow. It has been three weeks since we played, so you never know how a team will respond."
Tulane won the Conference USA Championship on April 24th and has been off since then, recently completing final exams.
After dropping the doubles point, Tulane found itself in need of winning four of the six singles matches against the tenacious Cajuns. Freshman Jonah Kane-West quickly evened the match by dispatching his opponent at No. 6 singles, winning 6-0, 6-0 against freshman Kerri Abaker, who was filling in for ULL's usual No. 6 man, who is injured.
"I think Jonah felt like he had to play a little better in singles than he did in doubles," Klein said. "And he did just that. That evened things up for us quickly and we needed that."
Sophomore David Goulet notched another big win for the Wave, coming from behind to win his first-set in a tiebreaker over nationally-ranked Dusan Tabak. Then Goulet cruised to a 6-1 triumph in the second set to lift Tulane to a 2-1 advantage.
"We knew David was capable of winning that match, rankings are just rankings," Klein said. "But most impressive was his second set. He was phenomenal and that was big."
ULL battled back with a win at No. 4 singles to even the match at 2-2 setting up one of the tightest matches in recent memory for Tulane.
The remaining three singles matches all went to third sets, with all three of those tied at multiple points. However, Green Wave senior Dmitriy Koch rose to the occasion at No. 1 singles. After dropping the first set, 2-6, Koch posted a 6-3 win in set two, the pulled away for a 6-3 victory, giving the Wave a 3-2 advantage.
"We down a break at three and five [flights]," Klein said. "But Dmitriy got a break back and gave us some great momentum. After losing his first set, he changed some tactics and settled down, showed more patience. He played some great tennis and that got us going."
The final two matches remained tight as Jacobo Hernandez battled Amnajot Singh at No. 3 and Alberto Sottocorno challenged Robin Ley at No. 5. Both teams traded points throughout, but with the score tied at 3-3, Sottocorno broke Ley and then held serve for a 5-3 advantage. Ley won on his next serve to make it 5-4, but Tulane clinched as Sottocorno held serve once again. Sottocorno led the Wave with 19 regular-season victories and also clinched the Green Wave victory in the Conference USA Championship.
"Alberto had a match point but their guy kept battling," Klein said. "Then after being down love-15 on his serve [in the final set], Alberto played four excellent points. He closed it out with an ace on match point."
The team match was stopped with Sottocorno's clincher as Hernandez was tied at six in his third-set.
In doubles, Tulane won at No. 2 as Hernandez and Ted Angelinos notched an 8-4 victory, but UL-Lafayette posted wins at No. 1 and No. 3 to clinch the point.
"After losing the doubles we were a quite concerned," Klein said. "I was disappointed. We're going to have to step it up tomorrow in doubles. But I'm proud of the way our guys responded in singles."
May 13, 2005
W.T. Robinson Tennis Stadium
Baton Rouge, La.
No. 20 Tulane No. 42 UL-Lafayette
1. Corduneanu/Singh (ULL) def. #27 Koch/ Sottocorno (TU): 8-5
2. Angelinos/Hernandez (TU) def. Tabak/Abaker (ULL): 8-4
3. Ley/Ellison (ULL) def. Goulet/Kane-West (TU): 8-5
1. Dmitriy Koch (TU) def. Evghenii Corduneanu (ULL): 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. David Goulet (TU) def. #122 Dusan Tabak (ULL): 7-6, 6-1
3. Jacobo Hernandez (TU) v. Amanjot Singh (ULL): 6-3, 2-6, 6-6, Did not finish
4. Shaun Ellison (ULL) def. Ted Angelinos (TU): 6-3, 6-3
5. Alberto Sottocorno (TU) def. Robin Ley (ULL): 6-4, 6-7, 6-4
6. Jonah Kane-West (TU) def. Kerri Abaker (ULL): 6-0, 6-0