Men’s Tennis Advances To Third Round Of NCAA Tournament With 5-1 Win Over UW-Whitewater

Posted on May 9th, 2015 by

Whitewater, Wis. – The Gustavus men’s tennis team is moving on to the third round of the NCAA Tournament thanks to a 5-1 victory over UW-Whitewater on Saturday afternoon at the Wangerin Courts. After earning two points in doubles, Gustavus earned the decision in singles wins at the No. 3, 4, and 6 positions. The Gusties improve to 19-10, while UW-Whitewater sees its season come to an end at 22-8.

“Congrats to Whitewater on a great season. They are a terrific team that competed very hard in a match that was much closer than the 5-1 final score indicates,” said Head Coach Tommy Valentini. “We feel fortunate to come out on top and move on in what was a competitive match from start to finish.”

The Gusties took two of the three doubles points with victories at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Mitch Elofson (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.) and T. Connor Shives (Rochester, Minn.) put the Black and Gold on the scoreboard first by making short work of Michael Schnarr and Rithwik Raman 8-2 at the No. 3 spot. Bradley Entwistle (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D) and Mohanad Al-Houni (Fr., Tripoli, Libya) followed with an 8-6 win over Martin Beck and Cam Laktash at No. 2 to extend the lead to 2-0. Doubles concluded with Gustavus on top 2-1 due to a Jake Humphreys and Ben Shklyar 8-6 win over Motasem Al-Houni (Sr., Tripoli, Libya) and Andres Saenz (So., Cancun, Mexico) at the top of the lineup.

“We got a great lift from our No. 3 doubles team. Mitch and T. Connor played with great energy and executed our game plan to give us an early lead,” said Valentini about his squad’s start. “Brad and Mohanad continued to build the momentum with a late push at No. 2, and Mota and Andres found themselves in another great battle with Humpnhreys and Shklyar No. 3. We were pleased to get out to an early lead because we knew Whitewater was going to bring the house early in singles.”

In singles, Gustavus picked up two quick points to go up 4-2 when Entwistle and Zach Ekstein (Fr., Eagan, Minn.) both earned straight set wins. Entwistle cruised past Shklyar 6-2, 6-1 at No. 4, and Ekstein got by Schnarr 7-5, 6-4 at No. 6.

Gustavus earned the 5-1 team decision on court No. 3 where Saenz pulled out a three-set win over Zane Navratil. The Cancun product won the first set tiebreaker 7-6 (7-2), dropped the second 6-4, and then earned the Gusties the win with a 6-0 victory in the third.

“I thought we handled the pressure of playing an NCAA Tournament match on the road well in singles,” Valentini said. “We had guys step up in key moments and play composed and smart tennis. They trusted the game plan and stuck to it despite how they were playing at the moment.”

At the time of the decision, the remaining three singles courts were all in their third set. Mohanad Al-Houni was up 4-3 in the third at No. 1, Motasem Al-Houni was leading 5-2 at No. 2, and UW-Whitewater’s Laktash was in front of Elofson 3-2.

“We’re thrilled to be moving on and excited for the opportunity to play in the region final tomorrow morning,” concluded Valentini. “I’m pleased with how the team handled itself today and we’ll do our best to prepare for what should be a fun and exciting match against a strong and talented Chicago team.”

The Gustavus men’s tennis team advances to the third round of the NCAA Tournament where it will face the University of Chicago. The region final will be held on Sunday, May 10 at 12:00 p.m. at the Wangerin Courts.

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