NORMAN, Okla. - The Auburn men's tennis team saw its 2013 season come to a close Friday afternoon with a 4-1 loss to North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Oklahoma's Headington Family Tennis Center.
Auburn finished the season with a 13-11 overall record while making its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 19th in the last 20 years. NC State (14-10) will advance to play the winner of Oklahoma and Wichita State.
"Give credit to NC State, they played better than we did today," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "But we didn't play very well. We didn't play well in doubles. But then we came out in singles and got on top, and we just couldn't finish. I said a couple of weeks ago that you've got to play your best tennis at the end of the year, and it's disappointing that we didn't do it."
Auburn fell to 0-8 this season when failing to win the doubles point. Lukas Ollert and Joseph Van Dooren fell quickly on court three to NCSU's Robbie Mudge and Simon Norenius by an 8-2 score, and Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso dropped an 8-6 decision to Beck Bond and Austin Powell at the No. 2 position to give the Wolfpack the point. The sixth-ranked team of Andreas Mies and Daniel Cochrane were tied 7-all with 18th-ranked Dave Thomson and Sean Weber when play was halted.
The Tigers got off to a good start in singles, winning five of six first sets. But the leads on courts one through four would not hold up.
"We won a lot of first sets," Shore said. "Andy's up a set, up 3-1 and 40-15, you think he's going to win that. Dennis wins a tough first set, Ollert rolls in the first set, and I thought we looked pretty good at that point. But we couldn't finish today. It's disappointing."
NC State made it 2-0 when Weber downed senior Michael Wardell on court six, 6-1, 6-4. Wardell bounced back after a tough first set and held serve throughout the second set until the final game.
The Tigers got on the board on court five as Lopasso made the most of what would be his final collegiate match with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Thomas Weigel to cut the deficit to 2-1.
From there, though, the Wolfpack would stage their comeback on all four remaining courts. After breezing through the first set, Ollert dropped the final two sets to Bond on court four to drop an 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision and give NC State a 3-1 lead. Lengsfeld then could not hold onto a first-set lead after claiming a tiebreaker, dropping a three-set decision to Thomson on court three, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-0, to end the match.
Mies was down 5-2 in the third set, and Cochrane was up a set but down 5-3 in the second when the match was halted.
Although the team season is over, Mies and Cochrane still have some tennis to play. The Tigers' top doubles tandem will compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship, and Mies will compete in the NCAA singles draw. That competition begins May 22 in Urbana, Ill.
"I told them that we can end on a positive note at NCAAs, maybe make a run in doubles and see what Andy can do in singles," Shore said. "I think they'll be fired up. But it will take a few days to get over the hurt of this one."
Auburn Men's Tennis Results
2013 NCAA Championship - First Round
May 10, 2013
Headington Family Tennis Center - Norman, Okla.
NC State 4, Auburn 1
1. #19 Andreas Mies (AU) vs. Robbie Mudge (NCSU), 6-1, 4-6, 2-5 unfinished
2. #123 Daniel Cochrane (AU) vs. Austin Powell (NCSU), 7-5, 3-5 unfinished
3. Dave Thomson (NCSU) def. Dennis Lengsfeld (AU), 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-0
4. Beck Bond (NCSU) def. #118 Lukas Ollert (AU), 0-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. Lucas Lopasso (AU) def. Thomas Weigel (NCSU), 6-3, 6-1
6. Sean Weber (NCSU) def. Michael Wardell (AU), 6-1, 6-4
Order of finish: 6, 5, 4, 3
1. #6 Mies/Cochrane (AU) vs. #18 Weber/Thomson (NCSU), 7-7 unfinished
2. Powell/Bond (NCSU) def. #51 Lengsfeld/Lopasso (AU), 8-6
3. Mudge/Norenius (NCSU) def. Ollert/Van Dooren (AU), 8-2
Order of finish: 3, 2