ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 32 UCF men’s tennis team defeated the Memphis Tigers by a score of 4-0 to wrap up the regular season. The Knights have swept three straight opponents to finish their 2019 regular season schedule on a high note.
“I think our starts in the first sets were good,” said Director of Tennis John Roddick, “Winning the six first sets was the biggest thing, and also the three doubles. We were in good position on two and then winning the other two, so we won eight out of the first nine sets with the other one being incomplete, that’s what you want to do. We were talking in the locker room that we need to carry that over to the start of second sets; we trailed in about four or five second sets in the beginning.”
The Knights got off to a slow start in doubles, falling behind on all courts. Slowly, UCF made a comeback on every court. The first court to complete the comeback was the No. 1 position where No. 24 Bogdan Pavel and Trey Hilderbrand topped No. 60 David Stevenson and Oscar Cutting 7-5. The win makes Pavel and Hilderbrand 13-3 at the top doubles spot and 6-1 against nationally ranked opponents. They have also won seven matches in a row and have been victors in nine of their last ten.
Doubles play concluded on court three where Manoel Alencar and Alan Rubio picked up their first win as a doubles tandem, defeating Marshall Sullivan and Matt Story 7-5 to clinch the doubles point. UCF's No. 3 pair was down 1-4 and rallied all the way back to give the Knight the early edge. Alencar and Rubio made their debut as a duo together on Sunday in Tampa, but their match went unfinished. The match that went unfinished in today’s contest was court two, where Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi and Gabriel Decamps were trailing Jan Pallares and Patrick Sydow 5-6.
UCF got out to a tremendous start in singles play, winning all six first sets. Memphis fought back in some second sets, but for the most part, the Knights controlled singles play on nearly every court.
Pavel was the first to finish his singles match as he defeated Jeremy Taylor in straight sets on court three, winning 6-1, 6-3. Pavel is now 10-9 on the season and has won three straight matches.
Finishing just after Pavel was Mikhail Sokolovskiy. On court six, he topped Stevenson 6-4, 6-3 to pick up his team leading twelfth victory.
It was race between Hilderbrand and Grassi Mazzuchi to see who finished their match first and get the clinching point. It was Grassi Mazzuchi who wound up finishing his match, defeating Cutting on court five by a count of 6-2, 6-4. Hilderbrand’s match on court four went unfinished as he was matched up with Story. Their score will remain at 6-4, 6-6 (5-0) in favor of Hilderbrand.
The other two courts to go unfinished were courts one and two. Court one saw No. 32 Decamps in a tussle with Chris Patzanovsky. Decamps won the first set 6-2, dropped the second set 3-6, and was in control of set three, leading 2-1 when the match went final. Rubio was on court to, leading Pallares 7-5, 4-3.
UCF’s regular season record finished at 13-9, with nine of those wins coming via the shutout. UCF has shut out three consecutive opponents in a row to finish the regular season schedule. The Knights shut out five straight teams earlier in the season, downing UAB, Samford, Bethune-Cookman twice, and No. 29 Miami (FL) all by a score of 4-0.
The Knights will play Friday at 9 a.m. as they have earned the No. 1 seed in the American Athletic Conference championship tournament. They’ll await the winner of ECU and SMU, who play on Thursday.
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