May 9, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 19 Auburn men's tennis team drew its season to a close Saturday afternoon with a 4-1 loss to No. 16 Florida State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The team season ends with the loss. However, the NCAA Singles and Doubles Tournament will include Alexey Tsyrenov and Tim Puetz and will take place May 20-25.
Auburn started the day by nearly taking the early lead. The 10th-ranked pair of Alexey Tsyrenov and Tim Puetz coasted to an 8-2 victory over Florida State's Jean-Yves Aubone and Vahid Mirzadeh, the No. 20 duo in the nation.
The Seminoles evened the doubles spread as No. 71 Drew Bailey and Maciek Sykut topped Auburn's No. 78 pair, Lukas Marsoun and Alex Stamchev, 8-5. Florida State then took the point when Chris Cloer and Clint Bowles rallied after being down 3-7 to defeat Milan Krnjetin and Michel Monteiro, 9-7, on court three.
"I think we should have won the double point serving two breaks up and they fought back," head coach Eric Shore noted. "Florida State fought back and they did a good job. We should have closed out that doubles point but we did not and it gave them some momentum."
Finding themselves at an early disadvantage, the Tigers were unable slow the Florida State momentum. The Seminoles took quick wins on courts three and six as Maciek Sykut topped Marsoun, 6-2, 6-1, and Chris Cloer defeated Alex Petropoulos, 6-1, 6-4, respectively.
With Florida State within one point of the win, the Tigers made their first mark on the board. Sophomore No. 108 Puetz earned a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the No. 58-ranked Clint Bowles to notch Auburn's lone point.
The Seminoles clinched the match with a court five win with Drew Bailey defeating Krnjetin in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
"They carried their momentum over and they were the better team in singles," said Shore. "They deserved to win today, but I don't think we played amazing. We should not have lost the doubles point but that's what happened and (Florida State) did a good job so I give them credit."
The final match-ups of the day involving Tsyrenov and Stamchev went unfinished as Florida State had already taken the match.
The Tigers end their season at 14-11, while Florida State will continue in the NCAA Tournament with a 21-8 mark. The loss marked the third consecutive year in which the Tigers have ended the year in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"We are losing a big group of seniors this year and this was their last chance," Shore noted. "We'll have two of our main contributors, Tim (Puetz) and (Alex) Stamchev, next year along with Nick Maurillo, who was a medical red-shirt this season. Hopefully they will learn from this experience. The guys that we bring in, along with our returners, have to build on this and gain more experience for next year."
With the team dual match season at a close for Auburn, Tsyrenov continues his senior season as he will participate in the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships singles division. He and Puetz, currently ranked as the No. 10 duo in the nation, will also participate in the doubles competition.
Fans may visit www.AuburnTigers.com further in the week for more information about the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships, which is set to take place May 20-25 in College Station, Texas.