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MTN: No. 14 Alabama Men's Tennis drops 4-3 Heartbreaker to No. 25 Boise State

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No. 14
Alabama Men’s Tennis drops 4-3
Heartbreaker to No. 25 Boise State


Crimson Tide
Ends the Season at 21-8


Ala. – The 14th-ranked
Alabama men’s tennis team (21-8)
lost an almost four and a half hour
marathon match 4-3 to the 25th-ranked
Boise State Broncos (24-8). The
Broncos took the doubles point and
managed to hold off the Crimson Tide
to advance to the Round of 16 in
College Station, Texas.


“This was a
classic college tennis match,” said
head coach Billy Pate. “They laid
their hearts out there today,
especially (Michael) Thompson. You
rarely see a guy cramp that much and
stay in the match. We were back and
forth on whether to play him in
singles. Boise State is such a good
team. They play so emotional. This
is a game of inches and that’s the
way it goes.”


Boise State
took the early lead with wins in
doubles at No. 1 and No. 2. First
off the court was the freshman duo
of Ricky Doverspike and Michael
Thompson who earned an 8-3 win over
Boise State senior Blane Shields and
junior Matt Solomon. The Alabama
team picked up an early break to
pull in front 3-1 and never looked
back. The Broncos evened up the
score with a win on court two as
seniors Stanley Sarapanich and
Clancy Shields tallied an 8-5 win
over senior Billy Mertz and junior
Saketh Myneni. The Tide tandem
grabbed the early break to go up 2-0
in the match, but Sarapanich and
Shields came right back to tie the
score 2-2. The Boise State duo then
earned a break at 6-4 and served for
the win moments later.


All eyes moved
to court one which featured a pair
of ranked opponents in Alabama’s No.
23 senior team of Dan Buikema and
Mathieu Thibaudeau and Boise State
senior Kean Feeder and freshman
James Meredith, currently ranked No.
43. Neither team would give up a
break in the match forcing a
tiebreaker to be played to determine
who was given the doubles point. The
Broncos jumped out to a quick 4-0
advantage before the Tide would earn
its first point. With a simple swing
of momentum, Buikema and Thibaudeau
came back to tie the breaker at 6-6.
From that point on it would be a
back-and-forth battle until Feeder
and Meredith eventually walked away
with the 12-10 edge giving Boise
State the doubles point.


Alabama senior
Michael Jung evened the match up at
1-1 with a dominant performance at
No. 6 singles. Jung earned several
breaks in the first to beat Blane
Shields 6-1 and closed things out in
the second 6-4. Mertz followed that
up with a 6-2, 6-1 performance over
Sarapanich at No. 5 to give the Tide
its first lead in the dual match of
the day. Boise evened the match at
2-2 with a win on court three. No.
87 Meredith and Buikema were on
serve until 5-4, when Meredith was
able to earn a break and take the
first set 6-4. Meredith carried the
momentum into the second, earning an
early break. That would be all the
Bronco freshman needed, taking the
second set 6-3.


regained the lead after a win on
court one by No 22 Myneni. Feeder,
currently No. 72 nationally, drew
first blood by earning a break for a
4-3 lead in the opening set.
However, Myneni would fight back,
taking the final four games of the
set to win 7-5. The two players
traded breaks early in the second,
but it was Myneni who was able to
earn and consolidate a break,
cruising to take the second set
easily 6-2.


The final two
matches of the day both went to
three sets. On court two, it was a
showdown between ranked seniors.
Thibaudeau, coming in at No. 84, was
locked in a battle with 24th-ranked
Clancy Shields. At the No. 4 spot,
freshmen Thompson and Cristian Hodel
were fighting through extended
rallies. Boise State claimed the
battle of the seniors, as Shields
won 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. There were three
breaks in the first set, with
Shields earning the last one en
route to taking the set 6-4. The
second remained on serve until 4-4,
when Thibaudeau broke and served out
the set 6-4. Shields would manage to
bounce back, racing out to a 4-1
lead in the final set. The deficit
was too much for Thibaudeau to
overcome, as Shields won the set


With the
Broncos taking court two, a berth in
the Round of 16 came down to the two
freshmen.  Thompson started the
match off by breaking serve. That
break would stand until 4-2, when
Hodel broke back. However, with
Hodel serving at 4-5, Thompson broke
to take the set. Thompson appeared
to be well on his way to a straight
sets victory when he took a 3-0 lead
to open the second set. But Hodel
would battle back, evening the set
at 3-3. The two freshmen traded
breaks again, but this time it was
Hodel who would take the set by
virtue of breaking serve with
Thompson serving at 5-6. The final
set was tight the entire way, as
both players managed to take much
better care of their serves.
Thompson was struggling with a foot
injury and cramps throughout the
third, but did not give in. He had
two break points at 5-5, but could
not convert. The missed
opportunities clearly deflated him,
as he was broken at love the next
game to drop the match 4-6, 7-5,


Boise State
advances to the Round of 16 and will
play No. 3 Ohio State Thursday, May
14 in College Station, Texas. That
match is scheduled to begin at 4:00
p.m. (CST).




1. No. 43
Feeder/Meredith (BSU) def. No. 23
Buikema/Thibaudeau (UA) 9-8(10)

2. C.
Shields/Sarapanich (BSU) def.
Mertz/Myneni (UA) 8-5

Doverspike/Thompson (UA) def.
Solomon/B. Shields (BSU) 8-3

Order of
Finish: 3,2,1



1. No. 22
Saketh Myneni (UA) def. No. 72 Kean
Feeder (BSU) 7-5, 6-2

2. No. 24
Clancy Shields (BSU) def. No. 84
Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) 6-4, 4-6,

3. No. 87 James
Meredith (BSU) def. Dan Buikema (UA)
6-4, 6-3

4. Cristian
Hodel (BSU) def. Michael Thompson
(UA) 4-6, 7-5, 7-5

5. Billy Mertz
(UA) def. Stanley Sarapanich 6-2,
6-1 (BSU)

6. Michael Jung
(UA) def. Blane Shields (BSU) 6-1,

Order of
Finish: 6,5,3,1,2,4*


Boise State
Head Coach Greg Patton:

“We talked
about being warriors. We knew this
was going to be a battle. This means
so much to our seniors. I have so
much respect for (Michael) Thompson.
It is such a big win to beat Alabama
at their place. This is a gift for
my seniors to get to go to the Round
of 16.”



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