Alabama men's tennis sweeps home doubleheaderBy Ben Boynton | 02/08/2016 10:43pm
The University of Alabama men’s tennis team rebounded from its loss to Oklahoma Friday night to defeat Troy and Lipscomb in a home doubleheader at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility on Sunday night. The two wins move Alabama to 7-3, replacing back-to-back losses with back-to-back wins.
The loss to Oklahoma could have taken its toll on the Crimson Tide, but the team only used it as motivation for Sunday’s matches.
“I think it had a physical and emotional impact on us today,” coach George Husack said. “What I told the team today was that we asked them to be very energetic Friday, and we needed the same from them, and that’s exactly what they did.”
The day started with a 5-2 victory over Troy. The Crimson Tide earned the doubles point with sophomore Matthew Rossouw and freshman Spencer Richey taking their match, 6-2. Senior Becker O’Shaughnessey and sophomore Grayson Goldin clinched the point with a 6-3 victory, giving Alabama a 1-0 lead.
Troy answered quickly by taking the first singles match with Pablo Moreno defeating sophomore Danny Kerznerman 6-2, 6-2 to even up the score. Osama responded by winning 6-2, 6-1, and Lovett put the Crimson Tide ahead 3-1 with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 win after rallying in his first set.
The Trojans refused to finish at that point, and Daniel Bustamante fought his way to a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over O’Shaughnessey for Troy’s second point, but Goldin clinched the match with a drawn-out 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) win that featured two tiebreaker sets that Goldin had to rally for.
Junior Nikko Madregallejo won 7-6 (3), 7-6(6) to close out the 5-2 win.
In its second match of the day, the Crimson Tide earned a 7-0 win over Lipscomb. The doubles point was started by a 6-4 win from O’Shaughnessey and Rossouw. The Bisons answered with a 6-4 victory against Alabama’s duo of junior Hayes Brewer and redshirt freshman Langford Hills. In the end, the Crimson Tide secured the point with a 6-4 win from Lovett and Osama.
Lovett breezed to a 6-0, 6-2 win in singles to give Alabama a 2-0 lead. Richey followed with a 6-4, 6-3 win, and moments later Rossouw clinched the Alabama victory, winning his match, 6-4, 6-1.
Kerznerman came back from a 3-0 deficit in his second set to give Alabama its fifth point, winning 6-2, 7-6 (5). Hills earned a 7-5, 6-4 victory, and Goldin wrapped up the sweep by winning a long three-set match 6(7)-7, 7-6(4), 10-5 with a tiebreaker in place of a third set.
Goldin, instead of shying away from tiebreakers, embraces them.
“You just have to play as solid as you [can],” he said. “Get up early, play as smart as you can. I like pressure situations, I think they make me play better, so I thrive in that environment.”
The Crimson Tide have now played most of its out-of-conference schedule, and the players feel they’ve gotten better with the early schedule.
“I thought this week we improved a ton,” Lovett said. “We kept our energy up and everyone was playing better, and if we can continue to do throughout the whole year, it will help us out.”
Husack is also pleased with his team so far this year, but he still sees some areas that need improvement.
“Over the next two weeks we need to focus on the things we need to improve on, the things that came up this weekend that need some extra work," he said. "Now we transition into a stage with a lot of individual work, and we make sure the things that didn’t work this weekend for each individual guy get polished and fine-tuned.”
The Crimson Tide will be back in action when it travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on the Michigan Wolverine on Feb. 20, where first serve scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.