St. Louis, Mo. – The UMBC men's tennis team advanced to the Missouri Valley Conference semi-finals, as the Retrievers defeated Southern Illinois, 4-1, at Westminster Christian Academy.
The Retrievers (12-5), winners of four consecutive matches, will take on nationally-ranked (No. 57) Wichita State tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CDT at the Dwight Davis Complex.
Juniors Justin Carter (Randallstown, Md.) and Eliott Loubatie (Paris, France) were both double-winners for the Retrievers. The duo recorded the first salvo of the match, as they cruised past the tandem of Martinez/Phipps, 8-3, at No. 3 doubles. UMBC lost a tight No. 1 doubles match, 8-6, and the No. 2 doubles match went to a tie-breaker knotted at 7-7. But the UMBC pairing of juniors Melker Svard (Gothenburg, Sweden) and Jaan Kononov (Talinn, Estonia) pulled out the breaker, and UMBC captured the doubles point.
Senior Daniel Gray (Bowie, Md./The Bullis School) opened singles play with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 victory over Max Phipps at the No. 6 flight. The Retrievers took a 3-0 advantage when Carter ousted Daniel Martinez, 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 3 slot.
The Salukis managed to put a point on the board at No. 2 singles, and the other three matches went to third sets. But it was Loubatie who won the clincher, coming on strong down the stretch to prevail over Alex Pozo at No. 5 singles, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Wichita State earned its spot in the semis with a 4-0 victory over Hartford. Drake will meet Illinois State in the other semi-final match .
UMBC 4, Southern Illinois 1
1: Kianicka/Pozo (SIU) def. Gray/Drean (UMBC) 8-6
2: Svard/Kononov (UMBC) def. Opieczonek/Rigby (SIU) 8-7
3: Carter/Loubatie (UMBC) def. Martinez/Phipps (SIU) 8-3
Order of Finish: 3,1,2*
1: Jonny Rigby (SIU) vs. Jaan Kononov (UMBC) 4-6, 6-3, 2-1, unfinished
2: Michal Kianicka (SIU) def. Melker Svard (UMBC) 6-3, 7-5
3: Justin Carter (UMBC) def. Daniel Martinez (SIU) 6-1, 6-4
4: Szymon Opieczonek (SIU) vs. Alex Drean (UMBC) 6-4, 3-6, 5-1, unfinished
5: Eliott Loubatie (UMBC) def. Alex Pozo (SIU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
6: Daniel Gray (UMBC) def. Max Phipps (SIU) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6,3,2,5*