Lucky No. 3
Weekend success puts Bulls on three-game winning streak
Freshman Akhil Mehta and the Bulls swept their weekend games against Niagara 6-1 and Duquesne 5-1, bringing their overall record to 5-2 on the season. Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum
The men's tennis team seems to have found its stride.
The squad has attained three straight wins, after back-to-back victories against Niagara and Duquesne this weekend.
The Bulls (5-2) started strong on Friday against the Niagara Purple Eagles (4-3) and never looked back.
Sophomore Damien David and freshman Akhil Mehta won the first doubles match 8-4, and senior Vusa Hova and sophomore Sebastian Ionescu won 8-3 in the second match.
"The team played well against Niagara, especially in the doubles matches," Hove said. "We had great momentum going into singles play and were able to get the win as a team."
With the momentum going into singles, the team was able to win five out of the six matches against Niagara, finishing the day with a dominant 6-1 victory.
Hove, David and Ionescu all earned the Bulls points in the one through three matches. They were able to defeat their opponents in straight sets. Mehta was also able to secure a point for Buffalo by defeating Lorenz Schwojer, 6-1, 6-1.
In the last match of the day, freshman Pablo Alvarez narrowly won his match, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6), in tiebreak sets. Pablo gave the Bulls the statement victory to end Friday's match on a good note.
"The team was very business-like in the way they handled Niagara today," said head coach Lee Nickell. "Although there is a lack of experience with our team, we are still learning and growing as a team."
The Bulls earned a decisive victory but needed to stay focused with an upcoming match against Duquesne (6-2, 0-1 Atlantic 10) on Saturday.
Buffalo got off to a fast start with Ionsecu and David winning their singles matches with relative ease.
"They're both the most consistent guys, the way they execute every day," Nickell said. "There's not a day when they come out in a bad mood or not feeling it. They just do what they are supposed to do and that's why they are successful."
Although Hove dropped his first set 6-0, he picked up his play, winning 6-3 to force a third set. After a back-and-forth match, Hove won the tiebreaker 7-3 and ultimately the match 7-6 in the third set.
"Vusa is not an outspoken leader, but a leader by example," Nickell said. "He fought back from a tough start and showed his leadership through his play."
Mehta downed his opponent, 6-4, 6-2, and freshman Sergio Arevalillo won, 6-2, 7-6.
The teams played singles matches before doubles due to a time conflict with the women's tennis match. The Bulls won the first five points in singles and clinched the victory without having to play the doubles matches.
Although Nickell would have rather played doubles, the team earned the extra rest after sweeping the weekend with back-to-back victories.
"Every match, we get better," Nickell said. "Every match, we come out with the right kind of attitude and we fight together. As long as we gain experience from every win and loss, we'll be fine."
Nickell planned difficult early-season matchups so the team will be ready for the Mid-American Conference Tournament later in the season and be able to compete for the championship. Buffalo will play at Princeton (5-3) and against NJIT (7-2) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
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