Lions Drop a Heartbreaker to Portland
In one of the closest, most draining matches of the season, the LMU men's tennis team came up just short Sunday afternoon when they fell 4-3 to Portland at the LMU Tennis Center.
April 6, 2014
Los Angeles, Calif. - In one of the closest, most draining matches of the season, the LMU men's tennis team came up just short Sunday afternoon when they fell 4-3 to Portland at the LMU Tennis Center. The setback drops the Lions to 13-7 overall and 4-3 in the WCC while Portland improves to 11-5 overall and 4-1 in conference play.
The LMU Lions and the Portland Pilots could not have been much more even on Sunday afternoon as the two teams battled back and forth on every court for over three and a half hours. There were countless moments throughout the day that could have gone either way and had a direct impact on the team result. With three tiebreakers and two matches going to three sets, a number of disputed calls and rule interpretations, Sunday's West Coast Conference match featured a little bit of everything.
The doubles round was extremely tight on all three courts. Each court saw both sides in the lead with a number of ties throughout the match, but Portland would edge out the Lions to take the point. First to finish was Court 3, where Portland's Michel Hu Kwo and Justin Guay barely outmatched LMU's David Doehring and Cristobal Rivera 8-6. Court 2 wrapped up next, where the Pilots' team of Reid DeLaubenfels and Kent Andreasen defeated Daniel Simko and Luke Bohuslav 8-5 to clinch the doubles point for Portland. On the top court, LMU's Sebastian Bustamante and Todd Volmari held a 7-6 lead when their match went unfinished.
In singles play, the quickest matches of the day were at the bottom of the lineup, where LMU came out on top. The first court to finish was Court 6, where Daniel Simko tied the team score at 1-1 with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Kent Andreason. Simko, a senior, was playing in his final match at the LMU Tennis Center after a four year career at LMU, and was happy to go out with a singles win. Shortly after, Cristobal Rivera wrapped up his match on Court 5 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Justin Guay. With the victory, Rivera extends his singles winning streak to 10 matches and improves to 14-5 overall this season, a team best.
The next two matches of focus were the top two courts, where Portland jumped out to win the first sets before LMU made comebacks in the second sets. The Court 1 match featured two of the top players in the conference. Portland's Michel Hu Kwo was recently named the WCC singles player of the week and LMU's Todd Volmari was nominated for the honor as well. Kwo and Volmari went back in forth on every game with Kwo edging out a 6-4 win in the first set. In the second set, Volmari made a fierce come back to force a 6-6 tiebreaker, where Kwo would barely pull away to win the match 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). In a similar scene on Court 2, Portland's Reid DeLaubenfels jumped ahead to take the first set 6-3. In the second set, LMU's David Doehring had a 5-4 lead and a break point before an interesting turn of events occurred.
During the middle of a point, a different LMU player shouted out words of encouragement from a few courts away, unaware that the point was still going. DeLaubenfels heard the disruption and thought that LMU had broken the rules by disturbing him mid-point. However, DeLaubenfels continued to play the point and hit the ball back as if nothing happened. After Doehring won the point, DeLaubenfels complained to the official, which led to about a 15 minute confrontation between coaches, players, and officials. The head official ruled in favor of Portland which gave them the point. From there, Delaubenfels won the game and would go on to win the set in a tiebreaker and take the match 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). This ruling completely shifted the course of play and the swing of momentum for LMU. After the win, Portland held a 3-2 lead with two matches to go.
On Court 4, Sebastian Bustamante was playing in his final home match as a Lion. The senior won the first set 6-2 before dropping the second set 6-4 to Portland's Alex Ferrero. The third set would also go down to a tiebreaker, where Ferrero held off Bustamante to win the match 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). This clinched the team win for Portland. The final court to finish was Court 3, where LMU's Felix Van Kann battled back from a set down to defeat Ratan Gill 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in another brutally tight match.