GRIFFITH, Ind. – The Cleveland State men's tennis team got back on the winning track Friday evening, posting a 6-1 victory over UIC. With the win, the Vikings improve to 13-7 overall and 4-1 in Horizon League play.
"The team was really able to bounce back today and focus for the entire match, getting the job done and picking up the win," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "I am very happy with how well we are playing doubles right now, and I know that will help us down the stretch when we need to pick up every point that we possibly can. We were able to take care of all the three-set matches today, playing some of our best tennis during those third sets. I'm looking forward to the Valparaiso match tomorrow, and hopefully playing well enough to clinch the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament."
Behind strong doubles play, the Vikings were once again able to take the early 1-0 lead, following wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles spots. The No. 2 doubles team of Matt Kuelker and Nolan Marks kept their record perfect in league play, posting an 8-3 victory, while Jorg van der Vloet and Manuel Bellutti posted a matching 8-3 score at the No. 3 spot.
The Vikings were then able to dominate singles play, picking up wins at the No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 positions. Kuelker was able to get back on the winning track Friday evening after having his 13-match win streak snapped last weekend, earning a 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory at the top of the lineup. The win also marked Kuelker's 80th singles win of his career, making him just the fifth Viking all-time to reach 80 career wins.
Ali Shabib then posted a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles, while Joe VanMeter extended his singles win streak to 13 straight matches with a 6-4, 6-0 victory at the No. 4 spot. VanMeter now has a 19-11 singles record this season, just one win shy of becoming the third Viking with 20 wins this year.
Bellutti also extended his win streak, marking his seventh straight singles victory with a 6-3, 6-4 decision at No. 5 singles. The final point of the day came from Marks, as he earned a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 three-set victory at the No. 6 position.
The Vikings will close out the regular season tomorrow (Saturday, April 19), facing Valparaiso at 3:00 p.m. With a win, the Vikings would earn a top-two seed in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament, and a bye to the semifinals.
Cleveland State 6, UIC 1
- Ali Shabib/Joe VanMeter (CSU) vs. Alexander Raa/Isaac Lloveras (UIC), 7-5, unfinished
- Matt Kuelker/Nolan Marks (CSU) def. Maurizio Feoli/Alan Reifer (UIC), 8-3
- Jorg van der Vloet/Manuel Bellutti (CSU) def. Eric Pontow/Nate Campanile (UIC), 8-3
- Matt Kuelker (CSU) def. Alexander Raa (UIC), 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-1
- Ali Shabib (CSU) def. Alan Reifer (UIC), 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
- Isaac Lloveras (UIC) def. Jorg van der Vloet (CSU), 7-5, 6-4
- Joe VanMeter (CSU) def. Maurizio Feoli (UIC), 6-4, 6-0
- Manuel Bellutti (CSU) def. Christopher Cole (UIC), 6-3, 6-4
- Nolan Marks (CSU) def. Eric Pontow (UIC), 5-7, 6-3, 6-4