Broncos Earn 5-2 Decision Over Buffalo Sunday Afternoon

Petr Vodak

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – The University at Buffalo men's tennis team had their three-match winning streak snapped on Sunday as league-leading Western Michigan defeated the Bulls 5-2 at the Miller Tennis Center.  The Bulls are now 10-9 on the season and 3-2 in league play.

Western Michigan, who clinched the #1 seed with the win in the upcoming MAC Tournament, took the doubles point early on with a pair of 6-2 wins at one and three.  It was the second time this season that the Broncos have taken the doubles point from UB, winning at one and three in both occasions.

Buffalo fought its way through singles action, sending three of the six matches into three sets.  The Bulls picked up their first singles win at three as sophomore Villhelm Fridell continued his stellar play with a 6-0, 6-3 win.  The Broncos then came away with straight-set wins at two and five to take a 3-1 lead, but the Bulls continued to fight as the remaining matches went into the pivotal final set.

At first singles, sophomore Hao Sheng Koay won his opening set 7-5, but WMU's Maik Steiner was able to win the final two sets, 6-2, 6-1, which ended up clinching the match.  The Broncos then came away with the win at six, but not without a strong fight from freshman Matthew Johnson.  He overcame a 6-3 loss in the first set to win the second set in a tiebreaker.  He ultimately fell short in the third, 6-3.  Senior Petr Vodak however was able to come back and win his match to finish the afternoon.  Vodak lost his opening set at four, 6-2.  Vodak then came back with a win in the tiebreaker in the second set, before winning the final set, 6-4.

Vodak was one of two seniors honored by the Bulls prior to the match as he joined classmate and double partner Vidit Vaghela in the pre-match ceremony.

"Today Western Michigan was just too good," said head coach Lee Nickell. "We could have started off with better energy in doubles and once that point was lost, it was just too tough to get back into a winning position.  I am proud of the fight we showed for being down so quickly, but at the end of the day we need to work on the mental things to put us in a position to win."

The Bulls will go on the road for a pair of conference matches next weekend beginning at Northern Illinois on Friday and continuing at Ball State on Sunday afternoon.  Buffalo will return home to host the 2018 MAC Championships beginning on April 27.

Doubles

  1. Jannik Opitz/Kennosuke Nouchi (WMU) def. #71 Vidit Vaghela/Petr Vodak (UB), 6-2
  2. Villhelm Fridell/Hao Sheng Koay (UB) vs. Nick Schnobel/Eric Olivarez (WMU), DNF (3-4)
  3. Maik Steiner/Billy Heckman (WMU) def. Ethan Nittolo/Matthew Johnson (UB), 6-2

Singles

  1. Maik Steiner (WMU) def. Hao Sheng Koay (UB), 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
  2. Jannik Opitz (WMU) def. Ethan Nittolo (UB), 6-3, 6-3
  3. Villhelm Fridell (UB) def. Lenhard Haupt (WMU), 6-0, 6-3
  4. Petr Vodak (UB) def. Kennosuke Nouchi (WMU), 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4
  5. Eric Olivarez (WMU) def. Nickolas Frisk (UB), 6-3, 6-1
  6. Matej Svjetlicic (WMU) def. Matthew Johnson (UB), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3
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