Jan. 19, 2014
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The No. 47-ranked Michigan State (2-1, 0-0) men's tennis team dropped its first match of the season Sunday, losing 5-2 to No. 29 Notre Dame (2-0, 0-0) at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in South Bend, Ind. The match was much closer than the score indicates, as MSU lost seven tiebreakers on the day.
"We hung in there and made it a match but they were the tougher team today," head coach Gene Orlando said. "We had them on their heels. If we would have won the doubles point, it could have been a different turnout."
A major turning point in the match came on the No. 3 doubles court. On the top doubles court, juniors Harry Jadun and Gijs Linders fell to the No. 21st-ranked doubles tandem of Greg Andrews and Alex Lawson, 7-5. The team of sophomore John Patrick Mullane and senior Drew Lied claimed a victory on the No. 2 court, defeating Billy Pecor and Eric Schnurrenberger 6-2.
With a split on the top two courts, which team would earn the doubles point came down to the match of freshman Brett Forman and senior Aaron Pfister against Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley. Bandy and Dooley went up 5-1 early but Forman and Pfister fought back and forced a tie break at six all. Forman and Pfister did have a chance at a match point, but could not deliver and ultimately lost 7-6 (9-7).
Play remained close throughout singles play as well. On the top court, Pfister fell in a first-set tiebreak to No. 22 Greg Andrews 6-5 and lost 6-0 in the second set. On the No. 2 court, Lied battled back from losing a first-set tiebreak to Ryan Bandy and won in three sets, 5-6, 6-4, 6-4.
John Patrick Mullane lost a tight match on the No. 3 court, losing in two tiebreakers to Josh Hagar, 6-5, 6-5. Gijs Linders claimed the first set on the No. 4 court over Eric Schnurrenberger but couldn't hold on and lost in a third-set tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-3, 6-5 (8-6). Brett Forman remains unbeaten in singles dual play, defeating Wyatt McCoy in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Harry Jadun lost at No. 6 singles to Eddy Covalschi 6-3, 6-1.
Next up for the Spartans is a trip to Knoxville, Tenn., next weekend. The Spartans will face sixth-ranked Tennessee on Saturday at 10 a.m. Depending on the result of the match, MSU will either face No. 31 Virginia Commonwealth or No. 35 North Carolina State. The mini-tournament in Knoxville serves as a qualifier for the National Indoors, being held Feb. 14-17 at a site still to be determined.