Richmond, Va. – The UMBC men's tennis team pulled out a pair of tough doubles matches, then won three of the first four singles matches decided and upset national power VCU, 4-2, at Thalhimer Tennis Center.
The Retrievers improved to 6-3 on the season, while VCU, which defeated No. 41 Penn State yesterday, dropped to 12-5.
"It was a great victory for the men's team today as they have been working hard to become a player on the national scene," said head coach Rob Hubbard. "VCU just knocked off Penn State so that is some pretty healthy company to be keeping with."
Junior Melker Svard (Gothenburg, Sweden) was a double-winner for UMBC, combining with classmate Jaan Kononov (Talinn, Estonia) to win the clinching match at No. 2 doubles and winning in straight set at No. 3 singles.
Juniors Justin Carter (Randallstown, Md.) and Elliot Loubatie (Paris, France) evened the doubles competiton with a 7-5 victory at the No. 3 flight. Then, Kononov and Svard went the distance with VCU's Michal Voscek and Wilder Pimintel and pulled out a 7-3 tie-breaker to give the visitors the doubles point.
Svard and senior Daniel Gray (Bowie, Md./The Bullis School) put UMBC ahead 3-0 with straight set victories at the Nos. 3 and 6 flights. Svard triumphed, 6-1, 7-6 (6) over Daryl Monfils, while Gray dropped just seven games in a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Antonio Rodriguez.
The Rams got on the board with a victory at No. 2 singles, but junior Alex Drean (Bayonne, France) clinched the match for the Retrievers with a three-set win at the No. 4 position. Drean won a marathon first set in a breaker, 7-6 (10-8), fell, 6-1, in the second, before regrouping to take the deciding set, 6-4.
VCU has made 20 NCAA Division I Championship appearances and spent 18 years in the ITA Top 25.
"I was very proud of the guys today as every player contributed in the victory which let me know they all came ready to compete," Hubbard said. ""Hopefully we can stay hot over our spring break trip down south."
UMBC has won five of six matches and will take the momentum into a pair of matches at UNC Greensboro and The College of Charleston over spring break.
UMBC 4, VCU 2
1) Cohen/Monfils (VC) def. Gray/Drean (UMBC), 6-3
2) Kononov/Svard (UMBC) def. Voscek/Pimintel (VC), 7-6 (3)
3) Carter/Loubatie (UMBC) def. Fifea/Rodriguez (VC), 7-5
Order of finish: 1,3,2*
1) Michal Voscek (VC) def. Jaan Kononov (UMBC), 6-3,1-6, 6-3
2) Catalin Fifea (VC) def. Justin Carter (UMBC) (VC), 6-2, 7-6 (1)
3) Melker Svard (UMBC) def. Daryl Monfils (VC), 6-1, 7-6 (6)
4) Alex Drean (UMBC) def. Joseph Cohen (VC), 7-6 (10-8), 1-6, 6-4
5) Eliott Loubatie (UMBC) led Wilder Pimintel (VC) 4-1, abandoned
6) Daniel Gray (UMBC) def. Antonio Rodriguez, 6-4, 6-3
Order of Finish: 3,6,2,4*,1