Feb. 24, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After losing 5-1 to Tulane on Saturday, head coach Scott Shankles wasn't sure what to expect out of his Lamar men's tennis team in the Southland Conference opener against first place New Orleans on Sunday. The Cardinals delivered one of their best matches of the season, but unfortunately they fell short, losing 5-2 at University Tennis Center.
"I thought we played very well against a good and very experienced UNO team," Shankles said. "They have a lot of matches under their belt and we had a number of opportunities in both singles and doubles. We just couldn't quite seal the deal, but it's really hard to complain about a match like this with the way we played."
Rob Lee picked up his second singles win of the weekend with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Rui Silva at No. 1, and Mikko Rajamaki joined him in the win column, collecting a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 win over Guillermo Aylon at line five.
"Rob and Mikko both came through with some big wins today," Shankles said. "Rob beat a guy who has been nationally-ranked this season, and Mikko fought off three match points to win. I'm proud of both of them."
It looked like Steven McMullan might join them with a win at No. 4, but the freshman out of Houston fell in a very close 7-6, 7-5 battle to Hossam Meligy.
Bruno Snyder and Carl-Philip Lindqvist also had some tight moments in their respective matches. Lindqvist nearly forced a third set in a 6-1, 7-6 loss to Richard Campos at No. 2, and Snyder fought it out in a tough opening frame only to lose 7-6, 6-1 to Abdelrahman Zaki at No. 3.
In the sixth spot, Trey Crysel
lost 6-1, 6-0 to Lovro Curcija.
In doubles, Lee and McMullan lost 8-2 at the top spot to Meligy and Campos, and Zaki and Vinay Kamineni held off Rajamaki and Snyder for an 8-6 victory at No. 2. The team of Crysel and Lindqvist lost 8-4 to Silva and David Malmgren.
Lamar dropped to 1-8 on the season, but scored twice for the first time since the season-opening victory over Alcorn State. New Orleans improved to 4-2 with a 3-0 mark in conference play, becoming the first team to secure a berth in the SLC Tournament.
"We had our chances in both doubles and singles, and despite the loss, this has me really encouraged for the next couple of weeks of practice," Shankles said. "Today was an example of why I scheduled the non-conference the way I did. I think we were ready, and it felt like we completely turned it around from the day before. This is a good building block and we can learn from it."
LU will return to action in two weeks with matches against Florida A&M and Radford. Both will be played at Thompson Family Tennis Center.