URBANA, Ill. - -
The University of Memphis men's tennis team (16-8) had its nine match winning streak snapped by No. 12 Pepperdine, in the NCAA Round of 16, Thursday, in a 4-2 loss.
"We came out with great energy in doubles and I think we kept that going today," Head Coach Paul Goebel said. "We owe a lot of that to our fans and supporters who drove up here from Memphis and I think helped give us the energy, and in singles, I thought we came out pretty well. All the matches were tight. A couple points here and there...but you have to give Pepperdine credit. They are very well-coached and played very aggressive in big situations and that's what it takes. But for it being our first time here, I was so proud of the guys, how they competed, and I think they really enjoyed this atmosphere. I think this run has helped put things in place for us where we can hopefully maintain this and come back again next year. "
Memphis got off to a good start, picking up the doubles point for a 10th straight match on the strength of wins from No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. The No. 1 team of Joe Salisbury and David O'Hare picked up a quick 8-2 win over the No. 43 ranked team of Sebastian Fanselow and Francis Alcantara. The Tigers' number three team of Cedric De Zutter and David O'Leary then picked up their first doubles win in NCAA play after not getting to finish either match last weekend, 8-5.
Pepperdine answered back with a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles, but for the second straight match, it was David O'Hare with an answer following an opponent's point, as he picked up a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 6 to make it 2-1 Tigers.
Pepperdine knotted the match up again with a 7-6, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles and took their first lead of the match with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 5 singles. With four ranked singles players on the roster, Pepperdine went to No. 107 Finn Tearney to close out the win, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 3 to advance to the quarterfinals, where they will meet Georgia, at noon, Saturday.
The loss ends a season of firsts for the Memphis men's tennis program. The Tigers won their first-ever C-USA Championship title back in April, picked up their first-ever win in NCAA tournament play, eventually upending No. 6 seeded Ole Miss to advance to their first-ever NCAA Round of 16.
"Since the end of March, we've really bought into our system and the doubles," Goebel said. "Some things we've been working on individually in singles really started to pay off. It just kept getting better and better and we're playing our best tennis. After the layoff after the conference tournament, we weren't sure, but I think in fact we played better in the NCAA tournament than we did in conference tournament, so that was really exciting. You hate to see it end, but it was a great year and there are a lot of positives going forward. "
No. 11 Pepperdine 4, No. 32 Memphis 2
No. 1 -- #11 Sebastian Fanselow (Pepp) def. Connor Glennon (MEM), 7-6 (3), 6-1
No. 2 -- # 62 Alex Sarkissian (Pepp) def. Joe Salisbury (MEM), 6-2, 6-3
No. 3 -- #107 Finn Tearney (Pepp) def. Lukas Vrnak (MEM), 6-2, 6-4
No. 4 - Johnny Grimal (MEM) vs. #102 Francis Alcantara (Pepp), 2-6, 6-3, 4-2, uf
No. 5 - Mousheg Hovhannisyan (Pepp) def. David O'Leary (MEM), 6-4, 6-4
No. 6 - David O'Hare (MEM) def. Davis Sofaer (Pepp), 6-4, 6-1
No. 1 -- #64 Salisbury/O'Hare (MEM) def. #43 Fanselow/Alcantara (Pepp), 8-2
No. 2 -- Vrnak/Grimal (MEM) vs. Sarkissian/Tearney (Pepp), 5-4, dnf
No. 3 -- Cedric De Zutter/O'Leary (MEM) def. Hovhannisyan/Sofaer (Pepp), 8-5
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,6,1,5,3)