Blazers Come Up Short in Tennis Thriller

| May 23, 2016

VSU mens tennis team

DENVER, Co. – The spectacular postseason run by the No. 8 ranked Valdosta State men’s tennis team came to an end on Thursday with a 5-4 defeat at the hands of No. 3 ranked Hawaii Pacific in the quarterfinal round of the Division II National Championship Tournament in Denver, Colo.

The Blazers put themselves in good position in doubles play after Gereon Heitmann and Fernando Rivas teamed up at No. 3 to defeat Torben Otto and Jakub Hadrava 8-5 before Niklas Herbring joined Jordi Mas at No. 1 to topple the nation’s No. 3 doubles contingent of Alexander Meyer and Thibaud Berland.

The pair of doubles victories helped the Blazers overcome a 1-0 deficit after Leo Blay and Xavier Pineda fell 8-5 to Filip Delezel and Jaime Martinez-Vich at No. 2.

After the break, the thrilling match continued with another impressive performance by Herbring, who blew by Otto 6-0, 6-4 at No. 5 to give the Blazers a 3-1 advantage.

Hawaii Pacific bounced back with two consecutive singles wins, as Delezel defeated Mas 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 before No. 13 ranked Meyer overtook No. 36 Heitmann, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 2. Rivas recaptured the lead at No. 4, however, with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over No. 20 ranked Martinez-Vich.

A rally for HPU at No. 1 and No. 6 proved to be the difference, as No. 1 ranked Berland took down No. 9 ranked Blay 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1, before Clemens Graute sealed the match with a 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Pineda at No. 6.

The loss ended Valdosta State’s season at 18-7 overall, while the Sharks advanced to the semifinal round with a season record of 19-3.

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