ST. LOUIS – The UMBC men's tennis team waged a tremendous battle against 59th-ranked Wichita State, but fell, 4-2, to the Shockers in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, held at the Dwight Davis Tennis Complex.
After UMBC dropped the doubles point, Retriever junior Jaan Kononov (Talinn, Estonia) blistered the nation's 46th-ranked player, WSU junior Tin Ostojic, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 singles to level the match at 1-1. Kononov (10-4, singles) won four consecutive matches and seven of eight to close out his first year in UMBC black and gold.
The Retrievers pushed ahead, 2-1, as, in his final match, senior Daniel Gray (Bowie, Md./The Bullis School) won a convincing 6-3, 6-2 decision over Jocelyn DeVilliers at the No. 6 slot.
WSU tied the match with a straight set win at No. 2 singles, as the other three matches headed to a third and deciding set. UMBC's "French Connection" of No. 4 Alex Drean (Bayonne, France) and No. 5 Eliott Loubatie (Paris, France) both shook off first set losses to square their matches. However, both players were broken in the deciding set and could not recover. Drean fell, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, to Guillermo DeVilliers and the Shockers captured the match when Miloslav Herzan edged Loubatie, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Wichita State (19-6) advances to its sixth consecutive MVC final, where they will meet No. 31 Drake for the fifth straight year.
UMBC completes the 2015 campaign at 12-6.
No. 59 Wichita State 4, UMBC 2
1: Gregurovic/Ostojic (WSU) def. Gray/Drean (UMBC) 8-4
2: Cuic/De Vilchez (WSU) def. Svard/Kononov (UMBC), 8-1
3: DeVilliers/Herzan (WSU) led Carter/Loubatie (UMBC), 6-3, unfinished
Order of Finish: 1,2*
1: Jaan Kononov (UMBC) def. Tin Ostojic (WSU), 6-2, 6-0
2: Ilija Cuic (WSU) def. Melker Svard (UMBC) 7-5, 6-1
3: Justin Carter (UMBC) vs. Tomislav Gregurovic (WSU) 7-5, 3-6, 1-2, unfinished
4: Guillermo DeVilliers (WSU) def. Alex Drean (UMBC) 6-1, 2-6, 6-3
5: Miloslav Herzan (WSU) def. Eliott Loubatie (UMBC) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
6: Daniel Gray (UMBC) def. Jocelyn DeVilliers (WSU) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 1,6,2,4,5*
Records: Wichita State: 19-6, UMBC 12-6