BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's tennis team concluded its unblemished Mid-American Conference regular season on Sunday with a 4-3 victory over Northern Illinois, clinching the outright MAC Regular Season title with a perfect 7-0 record. The Bulls become the first MAC team to go 7-0 in league play since Ball State in 1999.
It was a fight for UB, who was playing its third match in five days. The Huskies got the better of the Bulls early on, claiming the doubles point with wins at one and two. The Bulls did get a win at three as Ethan Nittolo and Tony Miller won 6-2. It was a big win for Miller, who was honored before the match as Buffalo's lone senior.
The Bulls had to regroup in singles and win four of the six matches if they were going to run the table in league play and that is exactly what they did. Nittolo won at six singles 6-2, 6-4, while freshman Hao Sheng Koay picked up a straight sets win at one, 6-2, 6-2 to give Buffalo the 2-1 edge in the match.
The Huskies tied it up with a straight sets win at three, but then the final three matches all went into third sets as Buffalo had to fight back, losing the first set in all three. Villhelm Fridell was the first to do it as he overcame a 6-4 loss in the opening set before winning the second set 6-2 and the pivotal third set 6-1 to give the Bulls the 3-2 lead, needing just one more win to clinch the outright title.
At second singles, Vidit Vaghela lost his opening set 6-4, but he too came back winning the second set 6-3 and the third and final set 6-1, clinching the match and the championship for the Bulls. At five, Petr Vodak, playing slightly under the weather, was able to overcome a first set loss by winning a marathon tiebreaker in the second, 14-12, before falling in the super tiebreaker in the third.
The Bulls will enter the upcoming MAC Tournament as the #1 seed, playing on Friday morning at Western Michigan. Buffalo's opponent, the #4 seed, is still being determined by the conference office.
- Eric Marbach/Georg Lundkvist (NIU) def. Hao Sheng Koay/Filip Grbic (UB), 6-1
- Louis-Philippe Hamel/Tom Hjertonsson (NIU) def. Villhelm Fridell/Petr Vodak (UB), 6-4
- Tony Miller/Ethan Nittolo (UB) def. Bor Schweiger Muzar/Carlos Manzanas (NIU), 6-2
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
- Hao Sheng Koay (UB) def. Georg Lundkvist (NIU), 6-2, 6-2
- Vidit Vaghela (UB) def. Bor Schweiger Muzar (NIU), 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
- Eric Marbach (NIU) def. Filip Grbic (UB), 6-3, 7-6 (5)
- Villhelm Fridell (UB) def. Tom Hjertonsson (NIU), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
- Louis-Philippe Hamel (NIU) def. Petr Vodak (UB), 2-6, 7-6 (12), 10-2
- Ethan Nittolo (UB) def. Carlos Manzanas (NIU), 6-2, 6-4
Order of Finish: 6,1,3,4,2,5