ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Cleveland State men's tennis team picked up a revenge win against the Green Bay Phoenix in Friday's Horizon League Tournament first round contest, picking up a 4-3 victory to advance to the semifinals for the 13th time under head coach Brian Etzkin.
As the sixth seed in the tournament, the Vikings upset third-seeded Green Bay to earn an appearance in tomorrow's semifinal contest against No. 2 Detroit Mercy. Cleveland State's 4-3 victory against the Phoenix comes less than a week after Green Bay picked up a 7-0 victory in the regular season finale between the two teams.
"Our motto coming into today was 'backs against the wall' and we knew that we had a lot of work ahead of us going into the match, and I am so proud of what this team was able to pull off today," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "In case it wasn't hard enough, we lost the doubles point and put ourselves in the position to need four singles wins against a tough Green Bay team. The guys showed so much fight throughout the entire match and didn't let anything get in the way of their focus and determination."
After dropping the doubles point and the first singles match, the Vikings were forced to pick up points on four of the final five singles courts.
Cleveland State's first point of the day came at No. 6 singles, as senior Andre Mick picked up a 6-3, 6-4 victory, marking his third straight singles win.
Horizon League Freshman of the Year Nico Mostardi then evened the match at 2-2 with a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 1 singles, marking his team leading 11th singles win this spring. After picking up the first set victory, Mostardi had to battle back during the second set, taking a 5-2 deficit and turning it into a 7-5 second set win for the match point.
The Vikings were then able to gain their first advantage of the match with a win from Colton Buffington at the No. 2 spot, as he captured a 6-4, 7-5 victory to put the Vikings up 3-2.
Green Bay was then able to even the score at 3-3 with a win at No. 5 singles, seconds before Cleveland State's Benjamin Slade clinched the match for the Vikings with a 7-5, 6-4 victory at No. 3 singles. Slade has now won six of his last 10 matches and notched his 10th singles win of the spring – one of two Vikings to own double-digit singles wins during dual match play.
"I give a lot of credit to Andre for stepping into the lineup and picking up a crucial win for us. We have put him in the lineup the last couple matches and he has stepped up both times. Colton played one of his best matches of the season today and Nico picked up a great win at the top of the lineup after battling to come back in the second set. Once again, Ben continued his solid play and was able to close out under pressure. This was a sweet win for us today, but now we need to move on to tomorrow and focus on picking up another tournament win," Etzkin said.
Sixth-seeded Cleveland State will now take on No. 2 Detroit Mercy in a semifinal at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning (Saturday, April 29). Tomorrow's semifinal winner will advance to Sunday's championship match. Check back to CSUVikings.com for updated match times in the case of inclement weather.
No. 6 Cleveland State 4, No. 3 Green Bay 3
1. Radosevic/Slade (CSU) vs. Kraenzler/McDowall (GB), 5-2, unf.
2. Kostadinov/Schramm (GB) def. Buffington/Goth (CSU), 6-2
3. Ridout/Radomirovic (GB) def. Mostardi/Mick (CSU), 6-2
1. Nico Mostardi (CSU) def. Florian Kraenzler (GB), 6-2, 7-5
2. Colton Buffington (CSU) def. Matej Kostadinov (GB), 6-4, 7-5
3. Benjamin Slade (CSU) def. Joshua Schramm (GB), 7-5, 6-4
4. Miles McDowall (GB) def. Mirko Radosevic (CSU), 6-2, 6-3
5. Charlie Ridout (GB) def. Kevin Goth (CSU), 6-4, 6-4
6. Andre Mick (CSU) def. Ivan Radomirovic (GB), 6-3, 6-4