WESTLAKE, Ohio – The Cleveland State men's tennis team got back on the winning track Sunday afternoon, earning a 5-2 victory over Wright State. The win improves CSU to 9-6 on the season and also keeps the Vikings perfect in Horizon League play at 2-0.
Cleveland State was able to get out to an early 1-0 lead after battling for the doubles point, with wins coming at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. The Viking duo of Ali Shabib and Joe VanMeter started things off with an 8-6 win at the top of the lineup, before Wright State evened the score at 1-1 with a win at No. 3 doubles. After playing from behind the entire frame, the No. 2 doubles team of Matt Kuelker and Nolan Marks was able to come-from-behind and claim an 8-6 victory to clinch the doubles point for the Vikings.
"We weren't at 100-percent mentally today, but I thought for it not being our best day, we really came out and competed and got a good team win," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "In doubles we had some great energy and really fought for the first point. Seeing the No. 1 doubles team play from ahead and win, and the No. 2 doubles team battle back and win was inspiring."
The Vikings carried their momentum into the beginning of the singles matches, as CSU gained a 3-0 advantage with wins at No. 5 and No. 1 singles. VanMeter, who has now won eight straight singles matches, claimed a 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No. 5 spot, while Kuelker notched his 20th win of the season with a 6-1, 6-4 victory at the top of the lineup. This marked the second 20-win season for Kuelker, and extended his singles win streak to 10 straight matches.
Wright State was then able to pick up a victory at No. 3 singles, before Marks clinched the match for the Vikings with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 6 singles. The Raiders then put the score at 4-2 with a win at the No. 2 spot, before Bellutti came out on top of a 6-3, 7-6 (3) decision at No. 4 singles for the 5-2 CSU victory. Bellutti, who has won eight of his last nine singles matches, is one of two Vikings with double-digit wins this spring, standing at 11-3.
"We were able to continue our strong play in singles, as Joe was in control of his match the entire time, and Matt played some great tennis at the top spot to get us two quick points. Nolan was then able to clinch the match for us, breaking a 4-4 set to get a victory at No. 6 singles. Despite his loss, Jorg had a lot of fight in his second set and kept Wright State from gaining any more momentum before Manuel was able to add another point with a win at No. 4 singles," Etzkin said.
The Vikings will try to keep their Horizon League record perfect next weekend, as they travel to Detroit for a 6:00 p.m. contest on Saturday, March 29.
Cleveland 5, Wright State 2
- Shabib/VanMeter (CSU) def. Joblin/Pineda (WSU), 8-6
- Kuelker/Marks (CSU) def. Makikalli/Lyzwa (WSU), 8-6
- Harris/Gilbert (WSU) def. Ford/van der Vloet (CSU), 8-5
- Matt Kuelker (CSU) def. Lauri Makikalli (WSU), 6-1, 6-4
- Dan Gilbert (WSU) def. Jorg van der Vloet (CSU), 6-4, 7-5
- Hayden Joblin (WSU) def. Ali Shabib (CSU), 6-4, 6-3
- Manuel Bellutti (CSU) def. Ricardo Pineda (WSU), 6-3, 7-6 (3)
- Joe VanMeter (CSU) def. Marc Sodini (WSU), 6-2, 6-4
- Nolan Marks (CSU) def. Michal Lyzwa (WSU), 6-3, 6-4