Men's tennis remains hopeful despite shut out by Cornell

On February 12, 2013

  • Vusa Hove (pictured) and the men's tennis team were unable to win in doubles play, as they fell to Ivy League opponent Cornell 7-0 on Sunday. Satsuki Aoi /// The Spectrum

A loss can be as much of a motivator as a disheartening event. A loss does not always come with pain; many times it can have a silver lining.

The Bulls (2-2) suffered a hard defeat this weekend against their second Ivy League opponent of the spring season, getting shut out 7-0 by the Cornell Big Red (4-1). 

The Bulls found themselves in three different opportunities to net points but were pushed out of tiebreaker victories by Cornell's aggressiveness.

Sophomore Damien David and freshman Akhil Mehta gave Buffalo its best opportunity to score points in a doubles matchup. David and Mehta pushed Cornell's Venkat Iyer and Alex Sidney to an extra set, following a 7-4 lead with two match points. Luck turned abruptly in the final tiebreaker set, as the Big Red doubles team came out on top, 8-7. 

Doubles play has plagued the Bulls all season. After dropping three doubles points, Bulls head coach Lee Nickell thinks his team needs a change of pace.

"We're still trying to figure it out," Nickell said. "Getting four new guys less than a month ago and trying to figure out how they fit in doubles is quite a task. Right now, I think that we've given it a go with the three teams we have and that we might switch it up to see if we can get a little more chemistry to try and get that doubles point."

Buffalo had two more chances to score points in the singles matches, the first being match No. 1 between senior Vusa Hove and Iyer. Hove came out strong early, taking the first set 7-6. The match was the longest of the day, extending over two hours as the players battled on the court. Iyer took the second match and tiebreaker, 7-6 and 6-2, respectively.

Sidney dealt the first loss of the spring season to previously undefeated sophomore Sebastian Ionescu during the third singles match. Sidney took the first match handily, 6-1. Ionescu, however, fought back, serving during a 4-3 lead in the second match. However, he dropped his advantage, let up three points and lost the second match, 6-4.

"It was another disappointment as far as closing things out," Nickell said. "I'm hoping that we learn something from these losses so that when we get in these situations again, we don't run into these problems and can finish."

Mehta also pushed to a final tiebreaker set, after a 6-4 victory in his second match locked him in a 1-1 tie against Kyle Berman. Mehta dropped the last match, 7-6.

Despite the bleak times on the court, however, the coaching staff saw great improvements from the team and managed to find a greater victory amid the oppressive score.

"Today was a major step forward for our young guys in terms of positive energy and walking with intensity," Nickell said. "It was something we saw today. They were really supporting each other and being very loud and very vocal and the guys all responded well to that. Granted we didn't pull any matches out, but the match did last over 3.5 hours, and even though the score was 7-0, it was a solid match."

As the rays of improvement peek out from behind the clouds of defeat, the team will have a lot to work on. Nickell is confident in his team.

Buffalo will travel to Ohio next week to play Cleveland State (2-5) Saturday at 6 p.m.



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