Men's Tennis Tops Alabama, 4-3, In Season Finale
Alex Stamchev

April 17, 2010

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 39 Auburn men's tennis team traveled to Tuscaloosa Saturday and came away with 4-3 victory over No. 29 Alabama at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium.

"We won in the spots that we needed to win at," head coach Eric Shore said. "It was a total team effort tonight and this win quite possible put us in the NCAA tournament in May. I'm proud of the team and this is a very big win for us."

Entering the match, the Tigers and the Crimson Tide were tied for second in the SEC West and the outcome determined the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds in the conference tournament. With the win, Auburn is now 9-11 overall and 5-6 in the conference, while Alabama drops to 13-12 and 4-7 in the SEC. The win guaranteed the Tigers the sixth seed at the 2010 SEC Tournament, being held April 22-25 in Lexington, Ky.

Freshmen duo Tim Hewitt and Lucas Lopasso put Auburn on the right track as the pair picked up an 8-5 victory at No. 3 doubles over Jarryd Botha and Trey Walston. The Crimson Tide, however, put pressure on Auburn as the No. 2 doubles team of Ricky Doverspike and Michael Thompson defeated Auburn's Andreas Mies and Alexander Sajonz, 8-4.

The Tigers secured the doubles point as the 17th-ranked team of Tim Puetz and Alex Stamchev topped No. 86 Michael Davis and Saketh Myneni, 8-4, at No. 1 doubles. The Auburn pair improved their overall record to 10-6 on the season.

Alabama opened singles competition with a victory at the No. 4 spot, seeing Botha defeat Lopasso in two sets (6-1, 6-0). The Crimson Tide went on to take a 2-1 lead after picking up a win at No. 1 singles in a match that saw a pair of nationally-ranked athletes go head-to-head. Alabama's No. 28 Myneni bested Auburn's No. 21 Puetz, 6-1, 6-4.

Auburn, however, tied it up at two apiece as freshman Mies came away with a two-set (6-4, 6-4) win over Davis at No. 6 singles. The Tigers moved ahead 3-2 after another freshman in Hewitt defeated Thompson at No. 3 singles, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

The two teams' fate came down to the final two matches of the evening at No. 5 and No. 2 singles. The Crimson Tide's Houssam Yassine picked up a 6-4 first-set win over Auburn's Oliver Strecker at No. 5 singles, but Strecker bested Yassine in the second set, 6-3. Yassine, however, gave Alabama its third team point after topping Strecker, 6-3, in the final set.

The deciding factor came at No. 2 singles where Auburn sophomore Stamchev, ranked No. 109 nationally, faced Doverspike. Stamchev took the first set in a battle, defeating Doverspike, 7-6 (5). The second set went to Doverspike (6-2), but Stamchev wasn't fazed as he pulled away with a 6-1 victory in the third set to give Auburn the win.

Up next for the Tigers is the 2010 SEC Tournament, April 22-25, on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The sixth-seeded Tigers face the 11th-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks in a 9 a.m. match on the opening day. The winner will face third-seeded Georgia the following morning at 9 a.m.

At Alabama
1. No. 17 Puetz/Stamchev (AU) def. No. 86 Davis/Myneni (UA) 8-4
2. Doverspike/Thompson (UA) def. Mies/Sajonz (AU) 8-4
3. Hewitt/Lopasso (AU) def. Botha/Walston (UA) 8-5

1. No. 28 Saketh Myneni (UA) def. No. 21 Tim Puetz (AU) 6-1, 6-4
2. No. 109 Alex Stamchev (AU) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-1
3. Tim Hewitt (AU) def. Michael Thompson (UA) 7-6(4), 6-2
4. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Lucas Lopasso (AU) 6-1, 6-0
5. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Oliver Strecker (AU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
6. Andreas Mies (AU) def. Michael Davis (UA) 6-4, 6-4

Match Notes
Alabama 13-12, 4-7 SEC, National ranking #29
Auburn 9-11, 5-6 SEC, National ranking #39
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,1,6,3,5,2)