After losing the lone doubles point and the first two singles matches to the Boise State Broncos, the Fresno State Bulldogs almost mounted the comeback of the season, only to fall just short 6-1.
While the overall score suggested a blowout, the match was much closer than it appeared.
Evan Austin, the head coach of the Bulldogs, said this game is reminiscent of many this season.
“It’s been the story of the year so far. We’re in positions to win, we just have to find ways to close out. The positive is that we are continuing to put ourselves in those situations.”
The doubles point went to Boise State after Garrett Patton and Scott Sears defeated Sai Kartik Nakireddi and Jeremy Quiroz 8-1, while Andrew Bettles and Nathan Sereke snuck by with a win against Reid deLaubenfels and Sam MacNeil 9-7.
The singles matches are where the ’Dogs had a chance to turn it around.
Thomas Tenreiro, from BSU, was leading 3-0 over MacNeil before MacNeil called it quits on his match on Court 5.
Bettles, who is ranked 33rd in the nation, breezed through his match with Fresno State’s top-ranked Felipe Fritz, winning 6-1, 6-2.
The match Sunday was Fritz’s first home match ranked No. 1.
The remaining four matches lasted much longer, and it appeared that Fresno State might be making a comeback.
Nikolas Papic was the next Bulldog to fall on Court 4 to Filipp Pogostkin 6-4, 6-3.
The first and only victory of the day for the ’Dogs came on Court 6 when Quiroz held off a fighting Patton 7-5, 6-4.
The final two matches of the day were pushed to three sets each.
DeLaubenfels dropped the first set to Sereke before surging back in the second. He was too tired to keep up the pace and ended his match losing 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Kartik Nakireddi had the longest and closest match. Both teams stood on the courts to watch as he duked it out with Sears. Sears was able to overpower Kartik Nakireddi in the third set winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
“The guys have all continued to battle hard, and it was great to see Jeremy, after some struggles, go out and find a way to win a match today,” Austin said. “I think it gives a lot of guys a lot of confidence going into the rest of the year. If things do break right, on any given day, we can beat some of these teams.”
The match against Boise State was the final home game for the Bulldogs. The final game of the season is at UNLV on Saturday.
Following the last game of the season, the ’Dogs move on to the Mountain West Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I think it’s going to be a wide-open kind of tournament, especially playing at Air Force in the high altitude – anything can kind of happen,” Austin said. “The key for us is to try and stay as healthy as we can and just try and improve just a little bit more. You never know what can happen come tournament time.”