Gusties use Doubles Sweep to Soar Past Warhawks

Posted on March 5th, 2022 by

Written by David Youngs

Gustavus 7-2 UW-Whitewater

SAINT PETER, Minn. – Last fall the Wisconsin-Whitewater Men’s Tennis Team came to Saint Peter for ITA Regionals and left with hardware and a wealth of quality wins at the expense of a number of Gusties. The tables turned on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Tennis Center. With a packed crowd in the house, the Golden Gusties played their best tennis when it mattered most, defeating regional powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater 7-2. 

Playing to their strengths all day long, the Gusties made an early statement by sweeping all three doubles matches. The top two teams of Nick Aney (Sr., Rochester)/Alex Budde (Jr., Menomonee Falls, Wis.)and Daniel Fouchier (Nootdorp, Netherlands)/Sourabh Terakanambi (Jr., Apple Valley) set the tone early by rolling to 8-3 and 8-2 victories. 

Aney and Budde have been through a gauntlet of a schedule to start the season and Saturday’s victory was one of the most impressive of the year for the No. 11 ranked team in the nation. The same can be said for Fouchier and Terakanambi, who currently sit at No. 8 in the regional rankings. 

The biggest momentum boost for the Gusties came on Court 3 of the doubles action. After jumping out to a lead with an early break, the No. 3 team of Marco Siviero (Fy., Sao Miguel de Oeste, Brazil) and Indraneel Raut (Sr., Oshkosh Wis.) dropped a service game to even the match out. At 6-7, the duo held out a gutsy service game to bring the pro-set to a tiebreaker. From there, the momentum from the hold and Siviero’s crafty play at the net were too much for the Warhawks to handle.

Riding the high of three excellent doubles wins, the Gusties came out swinging in singles. Fouchier rolled to a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 3 singles to put the Gusties within one win of clinching the victory. The win was the Dutchman’s third on the season and he currently sits at No. 13 in the regional rankings. 

Continuing his stellar rookie campaign, first-year Rafael Costa (Fy., Sao Paulo, Brazil) sealed the deal with a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 6 singles. Costa is now a perfect 5-0 in singles on the season. 

Budde snagged a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 4 singles. The junior out of the Badger State now has four singles wins on the year, all of which have been straight-set victories. 

And while it didn’t determine the end result, perhaps the most impressive win came from Raut at the top singles spot. Facing off against DIII tennis heavyweight and reigning ITA Regional Champion John Zakowski, Raut held his ground en route to a three-set victory over the No. 13 player in the nation. After dropping the first set, Raut doubled down from the baseline to win the second set in a tiebreaker. In a super-tiebreaker for the ages, Raut saved multiple match points before clinching a thrilling 17-15 win to hand Zakowski his first loss of the spring season. 

“It was great to see Neel get his match against the fall regional singles champ,” Head Coach Tommy Valentini said. “The breaker for the third was an epic one from both guys and the level of tennis was very high.” 

Saturday’s win was especially sweet for the Gusties. The two elite programs last saw their players face off in last year’s ITA Regional Championships in Saint Peter; a weekend that resulted in an all-Whitewater singles final. 

“We were happy to come out flying in doubles and get all three wins,” Fouchier said following the win. “We continued on that trust to push through in singles and pull out a big win. We’re very happy.” 

Coaches Corner

It was all smiles from Head Coach Tommy Valentini following his team’s electric win on Saturday afternoon. 

“The guys competed beautifully today,” he said. “We had great energy in doubles and stuck to our game plan in the tough moments. Our guys at No. 1 and No. 2 (doubles) faced some early adversity but responded nicely, allowing them to create some separation.”

And while the top two spots had separation, Valentini was impressed with his men at No. 3 in a match that came down to the wire.  

“Marco and Neel showed a lot of poise at No. 3 and played a great tie-breaker to get us the 3-0 lead,” he said. 

Sweeping doubles against a high-quality opponent is an excellent feat, yet Valentini couldn’t have been more proud of how the Gusties competed in singles. 

“We did an excellent job staying in the present in singles,” added Valentini. “Daniel played a solid match in all phases to get us the fourth point and Rafa was very solid to close things out at No. 6. Alex stuck to his game plan well against a quality opponent at No. 4.”

A confidence-boosting win, Valentini is excited to see how his team responds moving forward. 

“Whitewater is a very talented and deep team. It was a fun and tough match with them today and we’re grateful to come through. Our guys stuck together, showed belief, and handled the moment with courage. We’ll look to build on this one as we keep growing as a group.”

Up Next

The Gusties (7-4, 2-0 MIAC) return to play next weekend with a pair of Saturday afternoon matches at Swanson Tennis Center. Gustavus hosts conference opponent Concordia (0-8, 0-3 MIAC) at 12:30 p.m. and regional powerhouse Luther (3-4) at 4:30 p.m. The Gusties shut out the Cobbers last year and defeated the Norse 8-1.

 

Leave a Reply