Bulls finish regular season with a thud

Men’s tennis drops final two regular season matches, will be No.4 seed in MAC Tournament

By CHRISTIAN BRUNO
On April 22, 2014

  • Junior Sebastian Ionescu and the men’s tennis team dropped both of their final two matches of the regular season this weekend. The Bulls face top-seeded Northern Illinois on Friday in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament. Yusong Shi, The Spectrum

The Buffalo men's tennis team thought it was going to have a breath of fresh air after this past weekend. Not only was it looking forward to its first outdoor Mid-American Conference matchup of the season, but also hoping to gain confidence going into the playoffs.

The Bulls didn't bare the outdoors particularly well, but they still earned a spot in the MAC Tournament due to other school's losses.

The Bulls (11-7, 1-3 MAC) finished up their regular season with a pair of losses on the road, losing 5-2 to conference rivals Northern Illinois (18-5, 4-0 MAC) and Ball State (12-11, 2-2 MAC), 6-1.

Buffalo clinched the fourth seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament as it held the head-to-head tiebreaker with Western Michigan (13-11,1-3 MAC).

Head coach Lee Nickell said some of the players were "under the weather" and it was evident in two dismal performances.

In the first game against the Huskies, juniors Damien David and Sebastian Ionescu won their singles matches at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively. After The remainder of the team was swept in singles matches, however, as Buffalo lost 5-2.

David's impressive play from the last match two weeks ago against Western Michigan in doubles play. The other two Buffalo doubles teams lost, however, giving the Huskies the double point.

It didn't get any better against Ball State, with another loss in doubles and a near-sweep in singles. David was the only Bull to post a victory, prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 at No. 1 singles.

"We had an early lead, but we didn't quite finish like we should [have]," Nickell said.

The Bulls had shining moments of success throughout the season - including their first-ever national ranking - but they dropped four of their last five matches heading into the postseason. Despite the recent setbacks on the road, the Bulls will be ready to play come playoff time, according to Nickell.

"We're [going to] work," Nickell said. "We've got to start by flying on a plane to Chicago to play Northern Illinois.

The Bulls will be the No. 4 seed in the MAC Tournament starting this Friday in Muncie, Ill. The Bulls begin their quest for their first-ever MAC championship against top-seeded Northern Illinois (18-5, 4-0 MAC) at 10 a.m. in the semifinals.          

email: sports@ubspectrum.com


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