CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State men's tennis team battled for a 6-1 victory over Butler Friday evening, improving their season record to 11-6 and marking their third straight victory over the past three weeks.
After getting out to a 1-0 lead after doubles play for the third straight match, the Vikings were then able to rattle off three straight singles victories to clinch the match before finishing with two additional singles wins.
"Our doubles play definitely set the tone for us today, after picking up the early point we were able to swing that momentum into singles play and carry it to the victory," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "We were up on all three courts in doubles midway through the matches so we were able to play from ahead, and we were then able to close them out and get the early advantage."
Cleveland State's second point of the night came from Kuelker at the top of the singles lineup, as he notched his 12th straight victory – and team-leading 22nd win of the season – in a 6-1, 6-3 decision. Marks quickly followed with a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 6 singles, while VanMeter clinched the match with a tough 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory at the No. 4 spot. VanMeter's win marked his 10th straight and improved his spring singles record to 11-3.
"Matt Kuelker and Nolan were able to get us two quick points in their singles matches, and after staying at 3-0 for what seemed like forever, Joe was finally able to clinch the match for us at No. 4 singles. Joe had a great match today, coming from behind to win the first set and then battling for a close second set win. He really managed the pressure points well and stayed focused throughout his entire match," Etzkin said.
Bellutti and Jorg van der Vloet picked up CSU's final two points, Bellutti at No. 5 singles and van der Vloet at No. 3 singles. Bellutti battled for a 6-2, 6-7 (3), 13-11 victory while van der Vloet earned a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 come-from-behind win. Bellutti's win gave him a 19-9 singles record this spring, just one win shy of becoming the second Viking to reach the 20-win mark this season.
"I thought Jorg had a wonderful match today, it was definitely a mental challenge for him and he stayed with it and kept to his game plan. The longer the match went on, the harder he fought and I was happy to see that out of him. We were able to win two out of three three-setters today, which is a good place to be in at this point of the season – being able to pick up those close wins. We will now turn our attention to Duquesne, and hope to continue our winning ways on Sunday," Etzkin said.
The Vikings will close out the weekend with an 11:00 a.m. match against Duquesne on Sunday, April 6. Fans that are unable to attend Sunday's match can follow the action live, via the Live Stats link on the men's tennis schedule page at CSUVikings.com.
Cleveland State 6, Butler 1
- Ali Shabib/Joe VanMeter (CSU) def. Billy Weldon/Austin Woldmoe (BU), 8-6
- Nolan Marks/Matt Kuelker (CSU) def. Pulok Bhattacharya/Brandon Woods (BU), 8-4
- Jorg van der Vloet/Manuel Bellutti (CSU) vs. Sam O'Neill/Tommy Marx (BU), 6-4, unfinished
- Matt Kuelker (CSU) def. Pulok Bhattacharya (BU), 6-1, 6-3
- Austin Woldmoe (BU) def. Ali Shabib (CSU), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
- Jorg van der Vloet (CSU) def. Sam O'Neill (BU), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
- Joe VanMeter (CSU) def. Brandon Woods (BU), 7-6 (5), 6-4
- Manuel Bellutti (CSU) def. Tommy Marx (BU), 6-2, 6-7 (4), 13-11
- Nolan Marks (CSU) def. Billy Weldon (BU), 6-4, 6-1