The ninth-ranked Gustavus men’s tennis team upset fourth-ranked UC-Santa Cruz 5-4 on Saturday night to win the consolation championship at the ITA Division III National Indoor Championships in St. Peter. The Gusties, which improved to 5-3 overall, grabbed a 3-0 lead after doubles play and won the first two singles points to clinch the match as the Banana Slugs claimed the remaining four singles points.
The #1 doubles tandem of John Kauss and Mike Burdakin got Gustavus off to a strong start when they defeated Max Liberty-Point and Ilya Gendelman 8-4. Kevin Stickney and Nick Hansen quickly followed up with an 8-5 win at #3 doubles to put the Gusties ahead 8-5. In an extremely match at #2 doubles, Charlie Paukert and Ben Tomasek came from behind to defeat Jared Kamel and Marc Vartabedian 9-8 (7-4).
John Kauss recorded the first point for Gustavus at #1 singles when he defeated Max Liberty-Point 6-3, 6-1. The deciding point came at #3 singles when Mike Burdakin defeated Ilya Gendelman 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). UC-Santa Cruz won the remaining singles matches as Kevin Stickney was forced to retire at #4, Ben Tomasek fell to Colin Mark-Griffin 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) at #5, and Patrick Clark lost to Marc Vartabedian 6-2, 6-1.
The Gusties resume action on Saturday, February 28 when they host UW-Eau Claire and Hamline at Owatonna.