Men’s Tennis Battles Back for 5-4 Win Over Denison at NCAA Regionals

Posted on May 15th, 2021 by

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Gustavus men’s tennis team erased a 4-3 deficit Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Championships as Daniel Fouchier (So., Nootdorp, Netherlands) and Jack Bergmeyer (So., Lincoln, Neb.) secured back-to-back three set victories for the 5-4 decision. The Gusties, now 17-2 overall, advance to Sunday’s NCAA region championship against Case Western Reserve (11-2) at 1 p.m.

“Today’s match was a special one to be a part of,” Head Coach Tommy Valentini said. “Denison is a very good team and we feel fortunate to come through. The line was razor thin and I could not be prouder of how our entire team competed.”

The Gusties started out the second round matchup with a 2-1 lead after doubles. Joe Punnoose (Jr., Bloomington) and Sourabh Terakanambi (So., Apple Valley) suffered an 8-3 loss at No. 3, but Nick Aney (Jr., Rochester) and Alex Budde (So., Menomonee Falls, Wis.) evened the score with an 8-3 win at No. 1. Xavier Sanga (Sr., Madison, Wis.) and Fouchier gave the Gusties the 2-1 edge with an 8-5 win at No. 2.

After moving indoors due to rain, Aney was set back at No. 1 in straights sets to even the score and Caleb Fridinger (Fy., Woodbury) took a straight set loss at No. 5, moving Denison ahead 3-2 in the match. Indraneel Raut (Jr., Oshkosh, Wis.) secured a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 2 to lock up the score at 3-3 before Budde lost in three sets, giving Denison its fourth point.

With their backs against the wall, the Gusties rallied with a couple three-set wins. Fouchier cruised in the first set 6-1, but lost the second 6-4. He rallied in the third at 6-4 to even the score at 4-4, turning all the attention to No. 6. After dropping the first set 7-6 (7-4), Bergmeyer responded with a 6-3 win in the second and 6-2 win in the third to clinch the match.

“Nick, Alex, Xavier, and Daniel played great at one and two doubles, and Joe and Sourabh brought great energy right from the start even though they came up short,” Valentini said. “Right after the doubles we needed to move indoors due to the rain. We handled the delay nicely and from there we had to dig deep in the singles even with the 2-1 lead. Neel played brilliantly to get us back to 3-3, and when our backs were up against the wall at 3-4, Daniel handled the moment with poise and courage to come through with a big time three set win. From there Jackson locked in, found another level and handled the last match-on scenario with confidence and trust. Anytime we can win in the NCAA’s it’s special. Our group grew a lot in many important ways today through this match. We’re thankful for the result, but more thankful for how we competed. We’ll turn our attention to recovering and to enjoying the challenges we’ll face tomorrow.” 

Singles

1. Tim Cianciola (DENM) def. Nick Aney (GACM) 6-1, 6-1
2. Indraneel Raut (GACM) def. Vlad Rotnov (DENM) 6-2, 6-4
3. Daniel Fouchier (GACM) def. Marc-Lennart Harms (DENM) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
4. Jack Bulger (DENM) def. Alex Budde (GACM) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
5. Andy Mackler (DENM) def. Caleb Fridinger (GACM) 6-3, 6-2
6. Jack Bergmeyer (GACM) def. Daniel Garcia (DENM) 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-2

Doubles

1. Nick Aney/Alex Budde (GACM) def. Tim Cianciola/Jack Bulger (DENM) 8-3
2. Xavier Sanga/Daniel Fouchier (GACM) def. Patrick McGuigan/Akshat Agarwal (DENM) 8-5
3. Vlad Rotnov/Andy Mackler (DENM) def. Joseph Punnoose/Sourabh Terakanambi (GACM) 8-3
 

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