Men’s Tennis Upsets University of Chicago, Advances to NCAA Elite Eight Posted on May 7th, 2023 by


SAINT PETER, Minn. — The Gusties had a tall order ahead of them to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight. Facing off against the defending national champions for the third time this season, the Gusties made their NCAA third round count, defeating the Maroons in a 5-4 thriller to win the Regional Championship. The victory sends the Gusties to the round of eight in the tournament, which will be hosted in Orlando this coming weekend.

“The guys were absolutely brilliant today,” said Head Coach Tommy Valentini. “We started the tournament by staying present and competing well against a tough Whitewater team. Once we were able to come through and face Chicago, we knew it would take a complete team effort, and everyone played their roles beautifully.”

The Gusties got two crucial points in the doubles to start the day, as Nick Aney (Sr., Rochester) and Daniel Fouchier (Sr., Nootdorp, Netherlands) posted a dominant 8-3 victory at the No. 1 doubles and Alex Budde (Sr., Menomonee Falls, Wis.) and Gage Gohl (Fy., Sioux Falls, S.D.) won 8-6 at No. 2. Sourabh Terakanambi (Sr., Apple Valley) and Marco Siviero (So., Sao Miguel de Oeste, Brazil) put up a fight in the No. 3 spot, but fell to the Maroons 8-7.

“Nick and Foosh played fantastic doubles at No. 1 to get us on the board, and Gage and Alex were excellent at No. 2 against a talented team,” said Valentini. “The key moment for us was our response to narrowly losing the No. 3 doubles match. Marco and Sourabh played an inspired match, competed so well, and had a great look at the sweep for us. When it didn’t go our way, it would have been easy to lose momentum, but this group has been fantastic at communicating trust all year, and they did so in that moment, and we headed into the singles with a lot of belief.”

The singles became an intense battle between the two teams, but the Gusties held strong, never giving up the lead over the Maroons. Chicago posted the first singles victory in the No. 4 spot over Josh Christensen (So., Rochester) to even the score at two a piece. Rafael Costa (Fy., Sao Paulo, Brazil) gave the Gusties the lead once again, winning the No. 6 singles by scores of 6-2 and 6-4. A win for Chicago at No. 3 tied things up at 3-3, but Siviero stepped in to regain the advantage, winning by two scores of 6-4 at No. 2. Chicago clinched the No. 5 singles with a tiebreaker set over Budde, leaving the deciding point to the No. 1 singles.

Nick Aney and Chicago’s Arjun Asokumar played some of the best tennis Saint Peter had seen all season, as two of the nation’s best singles players went head-to-head for the decider. Each player picked up a dominant set, as Aney led off with a 6-3 victory and Asokumar picked up a 6-0 sweep in set two. Asokumar went up 3-0 to start set three, but was no match for the experience of Aney, who battled back to win the final set 7-5 and send the Gusties to the Elite Eight.

“Even where we came up short in singles against extremely talented singles players for Chicago, we competed very positively and kept ourselves in the team match. Marco and Rafa were tremendous in singles today. They played complete matches and stayed present in the big moments at a very high level to get us the third and fourth points.

“To have it come down to Nick at No. 1 singles trailing 0-3 in the third was a tall order, but our whole group continued to believe and held him up. Once he was able to break back and get to 2-3, he handled the moment beautifully, welcomed the challenge, and really trusted his game plan and himself. The line between winning and losing was razor thin, and we’re so thankful Nick pulled it out and got us over the line. It was an incredible moment for our team. Chicago is a top class opponent and we are fortunate to be able to move on.”

The Gusties will now face No. 1-ranked Case Western Reserve University, winners of the ITA Indoor Nationals hosted by Gustavus earlier this year. The Gusties and the Spartans will meet Saturday May 13, at a time yet to be announced.

“Win or lose, we couldn’t be prouder of our entire team — the ones on the court and the ones who held them up today were tremendous. And they have all been excellent in terms of trusting each other and competing for each other all year. The performance today — no matter the result — certainly reflected who they are as a group. We also want to thank our crowd and all of our alumni, families, the Gustavus community, and our supporters. It was an electric environment today at the Wilkinson Tennis Complex — it made the match so special and gave us a huge lift in the key moments.

“We’re grateful to continue to be a team and to have the opportunity to continue to improve, and we look forward to welcoming the challenge in Orlando and representing Gustavus in the Elite Eight.”




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