The Fresno State men’s tennis team dropped Sunday’s match against nationally ranked Auburn 6-1.
Fresno State first-year coach Evan Austin kept his players’ spirits up throughout the match.
“This was a tough match for us,” Austin said. “Auburn is always a top 25 team with a lot of seniors and upperclassmen who have played through some SEC competition before.”
The Tigers jumped out to a quick lead by winning the lone doubles point. Auburn’s Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso beat Sam MacNeil and Jeremy Quiroz 8-2, while Daniel Cochrane and Andreas Mies defeated Reid deLaubenfels and Nikolas Papic, the Bulldogs’ No. 1 doubles duo, 8-4.
“I love playing with Niko,” deLaubenfels said. “I feel like we have chances to break serve every single game. We are both trying to help each other get better.”
After a short intermission, the singles matches began. The No. 22 Tigers did not hold back, routing the Bulldogs in singles competitions.
Papic’s match was the first to end on court three. Lengsfeld swiftly dropped Papic 6-0, 6-2.
Lopasso defeated Quiroz not long after with a score of 6-0, 6-2.
The Tigers needed just one more win to secure the victory.
Mies sealed the win for Auburn with a victory on court 1 against Reid deLaubenfels 6-2, 6-3.
“We have seen some really tough competition and I think that will be good in the long run,” Austin said. “I think it will benefit us.”
Although the match was already in the record books, the teams played out the rest of the matches.
Felipe Fritz, a freshmen transfer student from Chile, notched Fresno State’s single point after dropping the first set. Fritz fought back in the second set to take Joseph Van Dooren to a third set tiebreak.
Fritz again found himself in a hole, but was able to mount a comeback, winning the tiebreak. The final score was 4-6,6-4, 1-0 (10-7).
Michael Wardell defeated MacNeil after a drawn out and paced battle ending 6-4, 6-3.
Nakireddi competed in the longest competition of the day. He kept the fight close in the first set, forcing a tiebreak, which he was unable to win. The tiebreak tired Nakireddi as Cochrane barreled ahead in the second set. Cochrane won the match 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
“The team is starting to come together,” Austin said. “We are right on course for where we want to be come conference season.”
The `Dogs have almost two weeks before their next match against Pacific on Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.