Feb. 8, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The men's tennis team (5-1) swept both matches of a double-header, 7-0, at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium on Sunday. Alabama defeated Samford (0-4) in the afternoon before taking down No. 75 UAB (1-2) in the second match. The Crimson Tide won all six doubles matches, and only dropped three sets in singles action.
"It was a great effort today by our guys to go out and get two solid wins," said head coach Billy Pate. "I was pleased with the way we competed all the way through and in each spot of the lineup. It's important to for our guys to stay focused on getting better each day, and I think we're doing that. We have a chance to continue making improvements the next few weeks as we enter the meat of our season and conference play."
In the first dual match against Samford, Alabama started quickly and easily took the doubles point from the Bulldogs. The Crimson Tide freshman pair of Michael Thompson and Ricky Doverspike didn't drop a game in winning their doubles match at the No. 2 spot over the Bulldogs' sophomore pair Carl Abalos and Oliver Reynolds 8-0. Clinching the doubles point for Alabama was freshman John Lewis and senior Andrew Felsenthal at the No. 3 position, as they defeated another freshman/senior duo, Carson Kadi and Richard Walsh of Samford, 8-5. Seniors Mathieu Thibaudeau and Dan Buikema finished off the sweep of the doubles matches for the Tide by virtue of their 8-2 victory at the No. 1 position over the Bulldog team of senior Brian Dushock and junior Kelwin DeWet.
Alabama wasted no time in jumping out to comfortable leads in singles play, as five Tide players won their first sets by scores of 6-2 or better. Thompson did not relinquish a single game, defeating fellow South African DeWet 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 2 position. Thibaudeau also posted an easy victory at the No. 1 spot, cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Dushock. Buikema clinched the match win for Alabama with a straight sets win in the No. 3 spot. He had little trouble winning the first set, but Walsh put up a tough fight in the second, and held a lead until deep in the set. Trailing 5-4, Buikema won the final three games, taking the match 6-1, 7-5. Finishing just seconds after Buikema was Doverspike, taking his match over Kadi at the No. 4 position 6-2, 6-4. Freshman Trey Walston also closed his match out in straight sets, picking up his first singles win of the dual season. Walston defeated Samford freshman Michael Browder at the No. 6 spot 6-1, 6-4. Lewis capped off the sweep for the Tide in the No. 5 position, but not without some major trouble. Lewis dropped the first set to Abalos, and quickly fell behind a break in the second. The break would last until 5-4, when Abalos served for the match. Abalos had one match point, but could not convert, and Lewis broke, evening the score at 5-5. The set would eventually go into a tiebreaker, and Lewis handily won it, 7-2. The final set was reduced to a super tiebreaker. Lewis used the momentum from winning the second set, jumping out to a lead early. Abalos fought to keep the score close, but Lewis would not be denied, winning the tiebreaker 10-5 and taking the match 4-6, 7-6(2), 1-0(5).
Alabama continued its solid play when it took on UAB later in the afternoon. The Tide's No. 2 doubles pair of senior Billy Mertz and junior Saketh Myneni came out strong and downed the Blazer senior/junior duo of Brian Ly and Alex Emery 8-2. Clinching the doubles point at the No. 3 position were Doverspike and Thompson with an 8-5 victory over junior Dan Cornei and freshman Daniel Moser. At No. 1, Buikema and Thibaudeau and the UAB freshmen duo of Dennis Ehrlich and Slawomir Szeremeta battled to the end, but the senior experience came through for Alabama as the team won the final two games to take the match 8-6.
The Tide took control of singles from the get go. Myneni had an easy time with Ehrlich at the No. 2 position posting a 6-0, 6-1 victory to put Alabama ahead 2-0. Next up, Mertz wrapped up his match on court 4 with a 6-2, 6-2 decision over junior Thomas Petrich putting the Tide within one of the team win. Minutes later, Thompson clinched the victory for Alabama at No. 3 downing Cornei 6-1, 6-2. The remaining three matches continued to play on despite the Tide having already captured the team win. Next off the court was Thibaudeau at the No. 1 position. The Alabama senior took his first set 7-5 before scooping up the second 6-4. At both the No. 5 and No. 6 positions a super tiebreak was used to determine the winner. Junior Houssam Yassine came back from losing his first set 4-6 to pull out the win with a 6-2 win in the second and a 10-7 victory in the tiebreak at No. 6 against sophomore Tyrone Ewels. Closing out the match was senior Michael Jung at No. 5 who provided the fans with a down-to-the-wire finish. After capturing the first set 6-4, Jung dropped the second to Moser 3-6. Jung fell behind early in the tiebreak, but came back and took the match 10-8 in the end.
The Tide returns to the court Sunday, Feb. 15 when it takes on No. 63 Clemson in Clemson, S.C. Opening serve is slated for 1:00 p.m. (EST).
Alabama 7, Samford 0
1. Thibaudeau/Buikema (UA) def. Dushock/DeWet (SAM) 8-2
2. Thompson/Doverspike (UA) def. Abalos/Reynolds (SAM) 8-0
3. Lewis/Felsenthal (UA) def. Walsh/Kadi (SAM) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1. Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) def. Brian Dushock (SAM) 6-2, 6-2
2. Michael Thompson (UA) def. Kelwin DeWet (SAM) 6-0, 6-0
3. Dan Buikema (UA) def. Richard Walsh (SAM) 6-1, 7-5
4. Ricky Doverspike (UA) def. Carson Kadi (SAM) 6-2, 6-4
5. John Lewis (UA) def. Carl Abalos (SAM) 4-6, 7-6 (2), 1-0 (5)
6. Trey Walston (UA) def. Michael Browder (SAM) 6-1, 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3*, 4, 6, 5
Alabama 7, UAB 0
1. Thibaudeau/Buikema (UA) def. Szeremeta/Ehrlich (UAB) 8-6
2. Myneni/Mertz (UA) def. Ly/Emery (UAB) 8-2
3. Doverspike/Thompson (UA) def. Moser/Cornei (UAB) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) def. Brian Ly (UAB) 7-5, 6-4
2. Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Dennis Ehrlich (UAB) 6-0, 6-1
3. Michael Thompson (UA) def. Dan Cornei (UAB) 6-1, 6-2
4. Billy Mertz (UA) def. Thomas Petrich (UAB) 6-2, 6-2
5. Michael Jung (UA) def. Daniel Moser (UAB) 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(8)
6. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Tyrone Ewels (UAB) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0(7)
Order of Finish: 2, 4, 3*, 1, 6, 5