Redbirds Edge Columbia, 4-3
March 25, 2011
NEW YORK - The Illinois State men's tennis team began its east coast road trip on a good note Friday, defeating Columbia 4-3 at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center in New York, New York.
The Redbirds started quick, capturing the doubles point for the fourth-straight match. Timon Reichelt and Alexander Pelaez handled Nathaniel Gery and Kevin Kung on the No. 1 court, 8-4. Tuomas Manner and Matej Zlatkovic squeaked past Cyril and Tizian Bucher on the No. 2 court, 8-6, to wrap up the point for the `Birds. Skip Span and Mya Smith-Dennis were the only Redbirds to taste defeat in doubles, as the duo fell to Haig Schneiderman and Rajeev Deb-Sen on the No. 3 court, 8-6.
In singles play, the `Birds were able to capture victories on the No. 2, No. 3, and No. 5 courts. Pelaez defeated Cyril Bucher on the No. 2 court, 7-6, 6-1, and Manner battled to defeat Kung in three sets on the No. 3 court, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4. Span, in his return to his home-state of New York, defeated John Yetimoglu in three sets on the No. 5 court, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Reichelt fell to Schneiderman in three sets on the No. 1 court, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, while Zlatkovic fell to Gery in three sets on the No. 4 court, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5. Juan Varon returned to the Redbird lineup on the No. 6 court, but fell to Tizian Bucher in straight-sets, 6-1, 6-1.
Head coach Cris James was impressed with his squad's mental toughness.
"I really liked our toughness," James said. "We all pulled for each other. We did a really good job of figuring out a way to win and stuck to our game plan. It was something that we tried to take from some of our earlier matches in the year, and we did a great job with that against Columbia."
ISU now turns its focus towards its match against Harvard, and James feels it should be another close match.
"We should be pretty evenly matched with Harvard," James said. "We need to carry over the same mentality from our last match. If we work hard and stick to our game plan, we should be good to go."
The Redbirds will take on Harvard Sunday at 11 a.m. CST.
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