Badgers bounce back, defeat Penn State on Senior Day

first_imgNielsen Tennis Stadium was initially filled with disappointment and later celebration this weekend as the Wisconsin men’s tennis team competed in its final regular season home matches of the year.The Badgers got off to a rough start Friday when they were shut out by the Ohio State Buckeyes, but after the intimidating events of Friday, Sunday’s match began with a celebration.It was Senior Day at Nielsen, and the Badgers honored their sole senior captain, Marek Michalicka. Soon after his achievements were recognized, the Badgers began their battle with the Penn State Nittany Lions.Doubles play was bittersweet for UW, as Russell Bader and Eddie Bourchier of PSU upset Michalicka and Billy Bertha, 8-3. The No. 1 pair was forced to cheer its remaining teammates from the sidelines in hopes that they could pick up the slack to pull off the doubles point win.“We came out and expected to win,” Bertha said. “But they came out with a lot of energy and hopped on us early. We couldn’t come back from that slow start.”Fortunately, the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles pairs of Fredrik Ask and Rod Carey and Ricardo Martin and Alexander Teppert held their own, clinching the doubles point for the Badgers and kicking Sunday off to a good start.The Badgers’ good fortunes continued, as they had just one loss in singles play. No. 3 Petr Satral, who did not play in a doubles match, fell to Bader, 6-2, 6-2.After that, Wisconsin couldn’t be stopped. Ask, Carey and Michalicka sealed the win for the Badgers as they grabbed the remaining points needed for a victory. Bertha and Martin were the last matches to finish up, both ending on tie break points. Martin split sets and then dominated 10-6 in a super tiebreaker to secure the fifth Badger point. Both of Bertha’s sets were close, as he won the first 6-4 and the second went to a tiebreaker, where he defeated Jason Lee 7-3. “The doubles loss added some extra motivation for both me and Marek to go out there and win in singles,” Bertha said.Head coach Greg Van Emburgh was pleased with his team’s ability to bounce back from a tough loss Friday and finish up its last home weekend strong.“We responded really well and the guys fought today even though we were down in a couple singles matches,” Van Emburgh said. “They fought back and made a lot of balls. I think that shows their commitment to their games and what they are trying to achieve this season.”The downward spiral began with all three doubles teams losing. First to fall was the pair of Martin and Satral. The Buckeyes’ aggressive net play and strong serve returns resulted in the first Ohio State win of the day. Martin and Satral lost 8-1, holding serve only once late in the match.No. 1 doubles partners Bertha and Michalicka followed shortly thereafter, and the duo was able to stay in the matchup until 4-5. However, they didn’t win a game after that, losing 8-4 to Peter Kobelt and Matt Allare.The freshman pair of Carey and Ask was able to endure the longest, as their match went to a tiebreak. However, Ohio State gained the doubles point when Balazs Novak and Blaz Rola took down Ask and Carey, 8-7.Singles play ended almost as quickly as it had started for some Badgers. Martin was nearly swept in the No. 4 singles position, as he was defeated, 6-0, 6-1, by Novak. Satral was unable to hold his own in the No. 3 spot against Allare and lost, 6-2, 6-4, giving Ohio State three out of the four points it needed to seal yet another conference win. Bertha tallied the Badger loss that gave the Buckeyes the final point they needed for the win. Bertha had his usual strong service game, but he struggled with his backhand ground strokes and fell, 6-4, 7-6, to Rola.Ohio State’s Chase Buchanan spoiled Michalicka’s spotless Big Ten singles record, defeating him 7-5, 6-1. In the first set, things were going well for the senior, as he jumped out to a 4-1 lead. However, Michalicka let Buchanan back in and eventually won at 5-7. “He got mad, which helped me to break his serve,” Michalicka said. “Then I held 4-1. I was up, I had it right there, I just couldn’t do it.”Michalicka was unable to shake the disappointment of that first set loss and was handily defeated 6-1 in the quick second set.“It’s always like that,” Michalicka said. “You shouldn’t let it bother you. I just wasn’t that good at fighting through it today.”last_img

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