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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Bulls Get Back on Track

Following three losses and an 0-2 start to its Mid-American Conference schedule, the men's tennis team was starting to see its season slip away. The freefall was halted by the squad's play on Sunday.

The Bulls (6-6, 0-2 MAC) ended their losing streak and defeated Marist (8-3, 2-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), 5-2.

The match didn't start out perfectly for Buffalo. Junior Alex Kalinin and freshman Jason Shkodnik lost, 8-3, in the first completed doubles match to the Red Fox duo of Lorenzo Rossi and Will Reznek.

The Bulls faced difficult odds, needing to win the remaining two doubles matches to take the opening point.

In the number two match, the pairing of senior Marcelo Mazzetto and freshman Travis Zappia defeated Marist's Nicolas Pisecky and Landon Greene, 8-5.

The point came down to the No. 1 slated doubles match.

The pairing of junior Wojceich Starakiewicz and sophomore Vusa Hove provided a major spark for Buffalo. The two had never been paired together before, but they came out and won the match nevertheless. The duo took down Marist leaders Joris Van Eck and Matt Himmelsbach, 8-5.

Mazzetto, Starakiewicz and Hove continued their strong play in singles play.

Mazzetto defeated Pisecky 6-3, 6-2 in the first match. Starakiewicz and Hove each needed three sets to pull out wins. Starakiewicz won the No. 1 singles match over Rossi, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. Hove battled from behind to clinch the victory for Buffalo in a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 decision over Van Eck.

The upstart Hove has been arguably Buffalo's most consistent player this year; the sophomore leads the team with 16 singles wins.

Hove's win came at an essential time for the Bulls, as momentum appeared to be shifting for the Red Foxes. The Bulls jumped out to a brilliant start in the singles round with the victories by Mazzetto and Starakiewicz, but then things got messy.

Kalinin blew a lead to Himmelsbach and couldn't regain his footing, falling 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4. Hove was losing and suffering from leg cramps. However, he shook off the pain and his opponent to give Buffalo the win.

The match was not on the Bulls' original schedule, but was added at the last minute.

The Red Foxes are atop the MAAC standings, and they came into Buffalo riding a three-game winning streak. The Bulls didn't appear to be much of a match for Marist having suffered embarrassing losses to the College of Charleston (11-5, 5-1 Southern Conference), Western Michigan (11-8, 2-0 MAC), and Toledo (21-8, 2-0 MAC).

Head coach Lee Nickell denied comment after the match.

The Bulls have some time off before an arduous weekend road trip. The squad will attempt to continue its hot play against three-time reigning America East champion Binghamton (5-13, 1-0 AE) next Saturday at 1 p.m. Buffalo will return home on Sunday to take on Chicago State (0-11) at 10:30 a.m.




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