Robert Hall breathed new life into the Cardinals with his win in singles.
May 11, 2012
The No. 34-ranked University of Louisville men's tennis team fell 4-2 to No. 26-ranked Indiana in the first round of the NCAA Championship Friday afternoon at the Boone Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
The Cardinals dropped the doubles point to the Hoosiers. IU's Josh MacTaggart and Alastair Barnes combined forces to beat U of L's No. 2 pair of Sebastian Stiefelmeyer and Robert Hall 8-3 to get the first of the two wins needed to gain the doubles point. Adam Donaldson and Michael Lippens fell 8-4 to IU's Stephen Vogl and Will Kendall at No. 3, tipping the point to the Hoosiers. At No. 1, Cardinals Albert Wagner and Andrew Carter were leading 6-5 when the clinch occurred.
"It hurts," said U of L head coach Rex Ecarma. "We have not lost to Indiana since 2005. It is natural to think that we can keep this streak going against one of the best programs in the Big Ten. We got the start we wanted in doubles but did not finish well. Even though we lost doubles, we felt confident because two of the last three times we defeated them we lost the doubles point. "
In singles , IU's No. 1 player, Isade Juneau, upended Andrew Carter 6-1 in the first set and then had his hands full with the determined senior. Juneau held on to win 7-5 to take the Hoosiers to 2-0. Next, U of L's Michael Lippens fell with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Stephen Vogl at No. 4.
"When their No. 4 beat Lippens, we sensed we needed a magical effort. We lost at No. 1 and were down 0-3 but Albert Wagner and Robert Hall played like gladiators and put us back in the hunt," said Ecarma.
Down 3-0, the Cardinals fought back with a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5 with Robert Hall besting Will Kendall. Then at No. 3, Albert Wagner ran off a 6-2, 6-4 win over Jeremy Langer, to bring the Cards back to trail by just one at 3-2.
The match came down to the No. 6 and No. 2 spots and the Cardinals had dropped the first set in both matches. IU's Dmitrijie Tasic took the first set 6-4 from Chris Simich and then were knotted at six in the second. Meanwhile, the BIG EAST Most Outstanding Player Sebastian Stiefelmeyer dropped his first set 6-1 and then gritted out a 7-5 win in the second.
"Simich was up in the second set and it looked like the magic was about to happen yet again," said Ecarma. "But their No. 6 player decided he would not go down and turned the set around to win 7-6 and clinch for them." Tasic won his second set 7-6 (2) after being down 1-5 to clinch the match for the Hoosiers. Stiefelmeyer was up 1-0 in the third set before it was abandoned after the clinch.
" It's a game of centimeters, you know? Some go our way, some don't go our way but I think that [Dimitrije Tasic] put himself in a position for a match point," said Ecarma. "Sometimes people get caught up, `Oh that point was in or out,' or, `That should have been ours.' There are about 150 points played before that point so I thought that guy played a really, really good match. He was down 1-5 and he comes back to win 7-6. That's really, really gutsy."
The No. 34 Cardinals finish the season at 18-10 after making their fourth straight and ninth overall NCAA appearance under the guidance of 2012 BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year Rex Ecarma. This was the second year in a row Louisville has traveled to Lexington for the first and second rounds. In 2011, the No. 24 Cards defeated Cornell 4-0 in the first round and fell 4-3 to the tenth-ranked Wildcats.
"I'm really proud of this team," said Ecarma. "When we talked to the seniors in our last team meeting, Sumit Gupta is crying and he says, `I don't want to leave this team. I want to be on this team forever. I want to be at this university forever. I just don't want to go anywhere else but be here.' As much as this loss hurts, when you have a senior that doesn't want to leave and says something like that and all three of the seniors said that it was best four years of their life. It's been a family and some of the most amazing things a coach could ever want to hear, I just heard in that indoor complex so I feel like we're doing something right over here."
University of Louisville 2 vs. Indiana University 4 Boone Tennis Complex NCAA Men's Tennis Championships - First Round Doubles Singles 1 - Isade Juneau (IU) def. Andrew Carter (UL) 6-1, 7-5 2 - Sebastian Stiefelmeyer (UL) vs. No. 78 Josh MacTaggart (IU) DNF 3 - Albert Wagner (UL) def. Jeremy Langer (IU) 6-2, 6-4 4 - Stephen Vogl (IU) def. Michael Lippens (UL) 6-3, 6-4 5 - Robert Hall (UL) def. Will Kendall (IU) 6-4, 6-2 6 - Dimitrije Tasic (IU) def. Luis Elizondo (UL) 6-4, 7-6 (6)
Doubles 1 - No. 86 Albert Wagner/Andrew Carter (UL) vs. Isade Juneau/Jeremy Langer (IU) DNF 2 - Josh MacTaggart/Alastair Barnes (IU) def. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer/Robert Hall (UL) 8-3 3 - Stephen Vogl/Will Kendall (IU) def. Adam Donaldson/Michael Lippens (UL) 8-4
Order of Finish Singles - 1, 4, 5, 3, 6* Doubles - 2, 3*