CLEVELAND, Ohio – Manuel Bellutti notched his 20th singles win of the season Sunday afternoon, as he led the Cleveland State men's tennis team to a 5-2 victory over Duquesne. The Vikings now stand at 12-6 overall this season, and have won four straight matches.
Once again the Vikings were able to get out to an early 1-0 lead, picking up the doubles point with wins at all three positions. The No. 1 doubles team of Ali Shabib and Joe VanMeter battled back for an 8-7 (4) victory, while the No. 3 team of Jorg van der Vloet and Manuel Bellutti clinched the point with an 8-5 win. Matt Kuelker and Nolan Marks then picked up a matching 8-5 victory at No. 2 doubles.
"Doubles was key for us today, picking up the early point really set the tone for us against a scrappy Duquesne team who came to battle," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "This was the second year in a row that our No. 1 doubles team came back from a break down late in the match to win at the top spot. Our No. 2 and No. 3 teams played from ahead throughout their matches and we were able to pick up some solid doubles wins."
After the first two singles matches finished, Duquesne held a 2-1 lead with victories at No. 6 and No. 3 singles, but that would be all the Dukes could manage as CSU came back to win the final four singles matches.
Bellutti's 20th victory of the season came as a 6-4, 6-1 decision at the No. 5 position, giving him a 20-9 record on the season. Bellutti was also able to even the score at 2-2, before Kuelker gave the Vikings a 3-2 advantage with a 7-6 (2), 6-1 win at the top of the lineup. Kuelker has now won 13 straight singles matches, and has a team-leading 23-8 record on the season.
VanMeter then followed suit, winning his 11th straight match – and clinching the contest – with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory at No. 4 singles. VanMeter now stands at 17-11 this season and 12-3 this spring. Shabib picked up CSU's final point on the day, earning a 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 victory at No. 2 singles.
"Matt Kuelker really earned his win at the No. 1 spot, there weren't many free points for either player, and Matt was able to keep his momentum going throughout singles. Manuel was in charge of his match the entire time and Joe was the clinching point for us for the second straight match. Ali picked up our final point on the day, and was starting to look like himself today and is really playing well down the stretch. We are looking forward to getting back to league play next weekend against a solid Green Bay team," Etzkin said.
The Vikings, who are 3-0 in Horizon League play, will take on Green Bay next weekend who is 2-0 in league play. Match time is slated for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 11. Check CSUVikings.com for updates on the location of the match.
Cleveland State 5, Duquesne 2
- Ali Shabib/Joe VanMeter (CSU) def. Pete Carpenter/Alex Aleman (DUQ), 8-7 (4)
- Nolan Marks/Matt Kuelker (CSU) def. Corey Robinson/Max Rubin (DUQ), 8-5
- Jorg van der Vloet/Manuel Bellutti (CSU) def. Rich Robbie/Harry Walshe (DUQ), 8-5
- Matt Kuelker (CSU) def. Rich Robbie (DUQ), 7-6 (2), 6-1
- Ali Shabib (CSU) def. Pete Carpenter (DUQ), 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
- Alex Aleman (DUQ) def. Jorg van der Vloet (CSU), 6-2, 6-2
- Joe VanMeter (CSU) def. Corey Robinson (DUQ), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
- Manuel Bellutti (CSU) def. Max Rubin (DUQ), 6-4, 6-1
- Mehdi Makaoui (DUQ) def. Matt Ford (CSU), 6-3, 6-2