Men's Tennis Edged by Temple, 4-3
March 22, 2012
Philadelphia, Pa. - The Fordham University men's tennis squad had a chance on Wednesday to see where they stack up against some of the top competition in the Atlantic 10, traveling down to Philadelphia to face Temple University, who earlier this year knocked off defending A-10 champs, George Washington. The Rams gave the Owls all they could handle before succumbing, 4-3.
The match came down to the final singles match with Fordham's Max Peara squaring off against Temple's Mansur Gishkaev. Peara took the first set, 6-0, but dropped the second, 6-2. That setup a tiebreaker that would decide the team winner which Gishkaev won, 10-3.
The match opened with Temple taking the doubles point, winning two of the three doubles matches. Srikar Alla and J.J. Tauil opened doubles play on a positive note for the Rams, besting Kristian Marquart and Dmitry Vizhunov, 8-4, at second doubles. But Kacper Rams and Taylor Hairston upended Peder Gram and Peara at the third spot, 8-4, and then the Owls won the doubles point as Gishkaev and Stanislav Stekolshikov defeated Fordham's Mischa Koran and Kuba Kowalski, 8-6, at first singles.
In singles play, Koran got the Rams on the board with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Vizhunov at the third spot but Temple got the point back when Taylor Hairston took sixth singles from Michael Puntillo, 6-2 6-3.
Alla and Kowalski gave Fordham a 3-2 lead with wins at second and first singles, respectively. Alla was victorious over Stekolshikov in straight sets, 6-4 6-2, while Kowalksi dropped the first set to Kacper Rams, 6-2, but came back to win the second, 6-0, and the third, 6-4.
Marquart evened the match at three all with a 2-6, 6-0, 6-4 win over Tauil at fourth singles which set up the battle at fifth singles to decide the match.
"I thought our guys battled hard in singles after dropping the doubles point," said head coach Cory Hubbard. "A few guys did not play their best in doubles, but rebounded and played great in singles. We grabbed the momentum back in singles, at the top lineup but, unfortunately, came up one point short. Max had a match point in third set, but his opponent played a good point. The difference in end was experience. Max is in his first semester, and was playing a senior who had been in that deciding match situation plenty of times, and this was the first time for Max."
The Rams will return to action on Saturday, March 24th, as they host Saint Joseph's University on the Hawthorn/Rooney Courts at 1:00 PM.
"Of course were hurt and disappointed to come so close, and that would have put us atop the A-10 for first time in school history" said Hubbard. "But I will take a lot of confidence from this match, because we showed we are definitely in the mix with the top three teams. I hope this makes our team hungrier than before and motivates us to work harder."