Historic Season Ends for Men's Tennis
May 9, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 40 Purdue men’s tennis team was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon. The Clemson Tigers, ranked No. 21 in the latest ITA College Tennis Poll, defeated the Boilermakers 4-1.
“It’s disappointing to have our season come to an end,” head coach Pawel Gajdzik said after the season-ending loss. “I think the senior class did an unbelievable job of putting us on the map. They fought hard and it was a historic season for the whole team. Sometimes when you go to the Big Dance, you have to pay your dues, and I think today that’s what we did a little bit. We didn’t play the crispest tennis, our guys were a little bit nervous about the whole setup. Once we started playing second sets, we got into the game and were fighting, but give Clemson credit. They were a bit more mature and more experienced in this environment. For us, it was a big deal to get here, but we didn’t handle it well. Coming back next year, we will know what to expect and how to prepare better.”
The Tigers (21-8) jumped out in front in doubles early as they were able to go up a break on all three courts. The No. 9 tandem in the country of Dominique Maden and Hunter Harrington made few mistakes all match long and knocked off Aaron Dujovne and Diego Acosta 8-1. At No. 3, Clemson clinched the point with an 8-4 win over Mateus Silva and Mark Kovacs. The doubles point loss was the team’s 10th of the season.
Singles began outside, just as double was played, but rain began to fall and forced the match inside after just one point. The University of Kentucky’s indoor facility has just four courts, which meant Acosta and Silva would have to wait. Clemson struck first in singles with a win at No. 2. Maden, the No. 80 player in the country, cruised to a 6-0 win in the first set. Ricky Medinilla battled back in the second, but couldn’t quite get over the top, and dropped the second set 6-4. Soon after, Szymon Tatarczyk fell to Harrington, the No. 48 singles player in the country, 6-2, 6-4, to make it 3-0 Clemson.
Kovacs got Purdue (15-8) on the board with its first NCAA Tournament since 2002 with a win at No. 3. In his last match as a Boilermaker, the senior knocked off Alejandro Augusto 6-4, 7-5. Kovacs used big serves and overpowering forehands to put him in position for the win. He finished the year 25-8 and 16-5 for the spring season. His 16 wins are the most on the team.
Clemson clinched the win with a win at No. 4. Austin Ansari knocked off Dujovne 7-6 (5), 6-4.
The match ends the careers of Kovacs, Dujovne and Tatarczyk who helped rebuild the program from their first day on campus. The trio helped the team earn the No. 28 ranking in the country earlier this season, and beat nine ranked teams this spring. They helped end Purdue’s 12-year NCAA Tournament drought.
“I’m really proud of these guys, and I’m really proud of Mark getting a win today,” added Gajdzik. “Aaron fought hard and Szymon did his best to compete, but it’s a tough way to end the season. I am proud of the direction this program is moving.
No. 21 Clemson 4, No. 40 Purdue 1