UB men's tennis sweeps weekend play
The Bulls beat Binghamton and Toledo in commanding fashion
UB men’s tennis won back-to-back matches against Mid-American Conference opponents this weekend. The Bulls beat the Binghamton Bearcats 6-1 Friday afternoon and the Toledo Rockets 5-2 Saturday. The team won its last three matches to improve to 10-8 on the year and 3-1 in MAC play.
“The scores don’t show it, but these matches were close,” said Buffalo head coach Lee Nickell. “I hope that what we learn from this is that no matter what the score, no matter if we’re down, if we stay poised we can come through with the victory. There’s no style points. A win is a win.”
The Bulls dominated doubles play against Binghamton (3-14, 0-3 MAC), clinching the point in less than 30 minutes. The number one team of senior Petr Vodak and senior Vidit Vaghela and the number two team of sophomore Villhelm Fridell and sophomore Hao Sheng Koay, each won their match 6-2 to clinch the Buffalo point. The third doubles team of junior Ethan Nittolo and freshman Matthew Johnson led 5-3 when they clinched the point.
“For doubles, that one point mattered a lot,” Nickell said. “If we’re down 0-1 and looking at those matches, we’d be stressed. Getting that point early is big and finding the right teammates like we did has been the key.”
The Bulls only dropped the fifth singles match en route to victory.
On Saturday, the Bulls matched up with Toledo (3-13, 0-4 MAC) for the second time this season, previously defeating them 6-1.
The Bulls narrowly escaped with the doubles point. The third team of Johnson and Nittolo won 6-4, the second team of Fridell and Koay tied 6-6 and the first team of Vodak and Vaghela held off a strong Toledo comeback to win 7-5.
“I would say it’s just crazy because in this format with just one set you have to expect it to be up and down,” Vodak said. “It can change so quick so even when we were tied two times, we knew we could still come back. Like today, if it’s 5-2 it’s most likely going to get tight. We just need to count on that so when we actually get tied we just look ahead and forget about it.”
In singles play, Fridell continued his dominant play at the third position with a 6-3, 6-0 straight set victory. Fridell only lost four total points all weekend, losing just one in the matchup against Binghamton.
Nickell altered the lineup, replacing Vaghela with freshman Nickolas Frisk to play fifth singles after not playing versus Binghamton. Frisk won 6-3, 6-4 to clinch the winning point for the Bulls.
“Today, he did what we asked him to do. He beat a guy that has beaten us a couple of times,” Nickell said. “That’s really big and I hope it gives him some confidence and some positivity knowing that these coaches are pushing him the right way and I can be successful.”
Frisk is from Santiago, Chile and has been trying to adapt to Buffalo. Frisk grew up playing outside on clay courts which are much slower and different than the indoor hard courts the team uses at the Miller Tennis Center, according to Nickell.
“It’s been tough. Different culture, different country, different climate, but I’m working through it,” Frisk said.
The Bulls’ next matchup is a highly anticipated rematch with the Western Michigan Broncos (17-4, 4-0 MAC). The Broncos defeated Buffalo 5-2 in a neutral site match at Toledo earlier this season.
“This year, Western Michigan is much improved and that first match was a tough one, but we have all the faith in the world and if we focus on what we’ve learned this spring then I have the utmost confidence in these guys,” Nickell said.
The matchup will take place at 11 a.m. on Sunday at the Miller Tennis Center and will be the Bulls’ final home game of the regular season.
Nathaniel Mendelson is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.