No. 4 Illinois 4, Green Bay 0
Green Bay men’s tennis had a tough task ahead of it Friday afternoon, taking on No. 4 Illinois in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on the Illini’s home court.
The Big Ten champions proved too much for Green Bay, as the Phoenix fell 4-0 in a rematch from this past January.
The match was delayed about an hour due to rain, and the first match of the day between No. 32 Louisville and No. 33 Drake was suspended multiple times before moving indoors for its conclusion.
Illinois took the doubles point from Green Bay with wins at No.1 and No. 3 doubles. The Illini swept the first set in all six singles matches, but the Phoenix battled back. Sophomore Joshua Schramm (Brunsbuttel, Germany) fell in his first set, then bounced back and took set two 6-0 at No. 5 singles. Junior Howard Scott (Exeter, England) followed suit, bouncing back after a first set loss to claim his second set 6-4 at No. 3 singles.
“This was probably my best college tennis match ever,” said Scott. “Schramm and I really had it going down on this end of the court. He really helped me, and I think that helped the other guys.”
Freshman Florian Kraenzler (Puchheim, Germany) lost a hard-fought match at No. 4 singles. Kraenzler had a chance to win his first set, but fell in a tiebreaker 7-4, then lost 6-4 in the second set.
With the Illini leading 3-0 and looking for the clinching victory, senior Michael Tenzer (Neuried, Germany) engaged the No. 33 singles player in the country in a back-and-forth battle that ended in a 6-3, 6-4 win for Illinois. The win at No. 1 singles gave Illinois a 4-0 match win.
Tenzer finishes his college career as the second winningest singles player in Green Bay program history with a 92-40 career singles record. 92 wins trails only Paul Swanson, who finished his Phoenix career with 94 wins.
“First of all, thanks to coach Thomas for recruiting me,” Tenzer said. “It was a great time here and I am proud to be a part of this team.”
“Ever since Michael has been here we have been dominant in the Horizon League,” said head coach Mark Thomas.
The Phoenix also loses senior Michael Tebon (Excelsior, Minn.), a two-time team captain who finishes his Green Bay career with a 62-61 doubles record and a 25-16 singles record.
“I can’t believe it’s over, but it’s been a heck of a ride,” said Tebon. “With all the potential and talent this team has, I’m not surprised the way we competed today.”
Senior Marius Merz (Heidelberg, Germany) provided support for the team during a senior season that saw him suffer a knee injury. He finished his Green Bay career with an 8-9 singles record and 8-8 doubles record.
“We’re losing some leaders, good guys who are also good in the classroom and a lot of fun to be around,” said Thomas.
Losing only three seniors, the future is bright for Green Bay men’s tennis. The team made its third trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last four years in 2015, and will return five of its six singles players from this season.
“We have four seniors next year,” said Scott. “We are going to help lead this team and hopefully we can win a round in this tournament. We definitely can do it, after today I have no doubts in this team.”
“Seeing us battle with one of the best teams in the country, getting a lot of our guys back and bringing in some great recruits, I’m very excited about the future,” said Thomas.
No. 1 USC 4, Youngstown State 0
The Youngstown State women's tennis team lost 4-0 to No. 1 seed and top-ranked USC on Saturday afternoon at Marks Stadium in the opening round of the NCAA Regionals.
The Penguins end the campaign with a 17-9 overall record and set a program record for most wins in a season and longest winning streak at 11. USC advances with its 12th straight win and improves to 22-2 on the year.
The Women of Troy took the doubles behind a pair of wins by nationally-ranked players.
USC won the first competed match 8-0 as 19th-ranked Giulianna Olmos and Zoe Scandalis beat the Penguins' Julianna Heino and Nehel Sahni. At No. 1, Marta Burak and Dominika Lackova teamed up to face No. 24 Zoe Katz and Sabrina Santamaria. The Penguins played tough but lost an 8-2 decision. At No. 3, Sofia Macias Mendoza and Annina Brendel were trailing 6-2 when the point was clinched.
In singles, USC played six players all ranked in top 79 nationally. Winning for USC was No. 14 Olmos at No. 2 over Lackova (6-0, 6-0), No. 78 Gabby Smith over Heino at No. 5 (6-1, 6-0) and 79th-ranked Meredith Xepoleas beat Macias at No. 6 (6-2, 6-0).
The Penguins hung tough at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4. Having success early in their matches were Sahni and Brendel. Against No. 38 Scandalis, Brendel lost her opening set 6-3 and trailed 1-0 in the seocnd. Sahni, who played No. 57 Madison Westby at No. 4, jumped out to a quick lead only to lose the first set 6-4 and trailed 3-0 in the second.
Burak dropped her first set to No. 24 Santamaria 6-0, but in true fashion kept battling in the second set trailing 3-2 when the point was clinched. It was the final match in a distinguished career for the Penguin senior who set the school record for most career wins in her four years with the program.
It marked the second straight year the Penguins advanced to the NCAA Regionals.