WESTLAKE, Ohio – The Cleveland State men's tennis team picked up its second win in a row Friday evening, posting a 5-2 victory over Butler. The Vikings now stand at 7-4 this season.
"I am very excited about this win today, and how it happened. Heading into this match, we were definitely the underdog on paper, but I thought we fought hard and really stepped up our competitiveness to pick up the victory," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "We have talked all season about moving the needle in the right direction, and I think tonight's match definitely helped us move the needle a bit more in the right direction."
The win gave head coach Brian Etzkin his 200th victory with the men's team, making him just the second active men's coach in the Horizon League to reach the milestone (Jim Daugherty, Valparaiso).
Friday's victory also marked the ninth straight win for Cleveland State against the Bulldogs, as CSU now owns a 9-8 advantage in the overall series against Butler under Etzkin's guidance.
Although the Vikings were playing with a new doubles lineup, Cleveland State was still able to pick up the early point, winning two of the three doubles matches. Cleveland State picked up wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, with Colton Buffington and Kevin Goth picking up a 6-3 win at the No. 2 spot, and Mirko Radosevic and Benjamin Slade posting a 7-5 victory at the No. 3 spot.
"I switched up the doubles team earlier this week, and after two of the teams got off to a slow start I thought I was going to regret that decision, but they rebounded and played some great doubles to close out a pair of wins for us at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Picking up the doubles point was great for our momentum tonight, and I thought it gave us a lot of energy heading into singles play," Etzkin said.
The Vikings were able to quickly add to their lead at the start of singles play, as Andre Mick picked up a 6-3, 6-4 victory at No. 6 singles, playing in the singles lineup for the first time in almost two weeks.
Butler then got on the board with a win at No. 2 singles, but the Vikings responded with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory from Slade at No. 5 singles. The win marked Slade's third straight singles win, as he now stands at 13-9 overall this year in singles action.
Cleveland State then got its clinching point from Buffington at the top of the lineup, as he picked up a 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory. Buffington is now 5-3 this spring, including a 2-1 mark at No. 1 singles.
"In singles play we were able to pick up four first sets right away, putting ourselves in a good position on a lot of the courts. Although we let the momentum slip a little bit after dropping some second sets, the team did a great job of fighting back and pushing through to win some three-set matches," Etzkin said. "Five of the singles matches went to three sets, and we were able to win three of those matches, which is huge for us to be able to get those wins. There was a great crowd on hand today, and it was awesome that we were able to give them a victory."
The Vikings added another point on for good measure at No. 3 singles, with Radosevic posting a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory, before the Bulldogs posted the final point of the night with a win at No. 4 singles.
Cleveland State will now close out the month of February on Sunday (February 28), traveling to Ball State for a 1:00 p.m. match.
Cleveland State 5, Butler 2
1. Khmiadashvili/Dragos (BUT), def. VanMeter/Mick (CSU), 6-4
2. Buffington/Goth (CSU) def. Gerstein/Woldmoe (BUT), 6-3
3. Radosevic/Slade (CSU), Lang, Mag (BUT), 7-5
1. Colton Buffington (CSU) def. Mikheil Khmiadashvili (BUT), 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2
2. Mason Dragos (BUT) def. Joe VanMeter (CSU), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
3. Mirko Radosevic (CSU) def. Ari Gerstein (BUT) ,2-6, 6-3, 6-2
4. Alex Woldmoe (BUT) def. Kevin Goth (CSU), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. Benjamin Slade (CSU) def. Spencer Lang (BUT), 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
6. Andre Mick (CSU) def. Adrian Mag (BUT), 6-3, 6-4