No. 19 Tennessee Hands No. 16 Auburn First Home Loss, 5-2
April 6, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 16-ranked Auburn men's tennis team dropped a Southeastern Conference heartbreaker under the lights Friday night, falling 5-2 to No. 19 Tennessee at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Auburn (15-7, 4-5 SEC) lost at home for the first time this season, falling to 7-1 at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. Tennessee improved to 13-10 overall, 5-4 in SEC play.
"Tennessee deserved to win the match," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "They earned it tonight. I think we kind of let them off the hook in doubles. We should have put them away, and we didn't. It came back to get us. But again, they earned the win.
"It was a good effort from Dennis (Lengsfeld) in his first match back in six weeks. He's just up and down, but he hung in there. It's nice to have him back. But we've got to get better in doubles. We've got to put people away."
Tennessee got on the board first. The Vols took an early advantage in doubles on court two as Jarryd Chaplin and Edward Jones earned an 8-4 win over Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso. But the Tigers would fight back on court three with an 8-5 win from Daniel Cochrane and Lukas Ollert over Brandon Fickey and Taylor Patrick.
The match on court one between Auburn's 16th-ranked duo of Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies and Tennessee's eighth-ranked team of Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese was a 90-minute slugfest. The teams traded breaks early but stayed on serve until Tennessee got a break in a controversial game to go up 7-6. Auburn then had three break chances in the next game, but Tennessee was able to fight back with five straight points to clinch the game and the match, 8-6.
Auburn would knot the score at one apiece as Lopasso made quick work of Bryan Swartz at the No. 6 singles position with a 6-2, 6-1 win. But Tennessee would re-take the lead on court three as Fickey downed Cochrane in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
A win from 27th-ranked Mies at the No. 1 spot pulled the Tigers back even as he defeated 42nd-ranked Libietis, 6-2, 7-5, in a hard-fought match. But Tennessee would move back ahead 3-2 just a few moments later when the Vols' Jones fought off a valiant comeback effort from Ollert on court five, 6-2, 7-5.
Lengsfeld, playing his first singles match in more than a month, won the first set of his match over Chaplin handily, 6-2. But he would drop the second set by an identical score and fall behind 5-0 in the third. Ever the fighter, Lengsfeld won four straight games and fought off two match points at 5-4 in the third set before finally succumbing, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, to give Tennessee the match-clinching win.
With the match already decided, Stamchev, ranked No. 77 in the country, took Tennessee's 92nd-ranked Reese to a third set before Reese prevailed, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Auburn will close out the home portion of its schedule at 1 p.m. Sunday as the Tigers welcome the No. 4-ranked Georgia Bulldogs to the Yarbrough Tennis Center. Admission is free. The first 75 fans will receive Auburn tennis water bottles, and Stamchev will be honored at intermission as the Tigers' lone senior for 2012.
Auburn Men's Tennis
#19 Tennessee 5, #16 Auburn 2
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