FAU Menís Tennis Takes UPenn Match 5-2
FAU Menís Tennis Takes UPenn Match 5-2
The match began under beautiful skies, 73 degrees and gusty winds. Doubles play was quick work for the Owls as they picked up their fifth-consecutive match doubles point victory. The duo of Daniel Vardag and Joshua Scholl worked to pick up the first match of the day at no. 2 8-3 versus Adam Swartz and Alex Vasin, who are currently ranked no. 19 in the Northeast Region. Just a few minutes later Lawrence Harradine and Santiago Nieto walked off court three with a 8-1 victory. Court one saw Eddie Majcher and Marc Abdelnour serve out the match to complete the sweep at 8-3 over Hicham Laalej and Phil Law, who are ranked no. 7 in the Northeast Region.
"Both teams came out firing first exchanges," said Brandon Stokes, FAUís head coach. "It was fun. We did a good job of relentlessly executing the fundamentals. We are grateful we are not where we were a few weeks ago but, we have more work to do in this phase of our game."
As the squads moved into singles play, the Owls continued to apply pressure to the Quakers. FAU took the first set on the first four-singles courts while UPenn countered with first set wins on courts five and six. FAUís fans were animated and instrumental as the Quakers tried to seize the momentum by taking matches on court five and six at 6-3, 6-2 and 6-2, 6-4, respectively.
By 3:30 p.m. the Owls found themselves down 2-1 with four matches to play and UPenn needing just two to take the dual match.
The Owls broke serve on courts two, three and four to seize the energy from the Quakers as the Owls were serving for the match.
Joshua Scholl was the first to close out and even the match score at two with a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory on court four. Court two saw Daniel Vardag push the Owls ahead quickly thereafter with a 6-4, 6-4 victory. Lawrence Harradine then saved a break point with an ace, earned the advantage with another ace and then served it out with a little help from the hometown net at 6-4, 6-4.
Despite the match being secured on court one Marc Abdelnour continued his grueling match. Abdelnour won his first set with an aggressive all court game, held serve with strong ground strokes and forced a second set tie break which proved more of the same. After the first changeover at 3-3 UPenn stubbornly captured the next 3-of-4 points to lead 6-4. UPenn pushed it to 6-5 and served for the set before Abdelnour neutralized another booming serve and scrambled to break for a 6-6 changeover. Abdelnour then saved another set point with a dramatic all court point by lunging to his left for a stab backhand volley to an open court which even it once again this time at seven. With an undefeated record and the crowd loudly behind Abdelnor, the sophomore continued with his home-court dominance by winning the next two points to take the match 9-7 and the 5-2 FAU dual match final.
"UPenn gave us a heck of a battle in singles," added Stokes. "We continue to compete at the bottom of the lineup despite not playing anywhere near our potential. I am confident this will turn around soon. The top four singles spots continue to take care of their courts. The confidence is growing and thus we are competing with more poise and determination. However, just like in doubles, we have a long way to go yet this season to reach our potential. These next 13 days of rest and preparation will set the tone for the remainder of our season. How we finish starts now. We must continue to take care of ourselves, our studies, and each other."
FAU will next travel to Fort Myers where they will face Florida Gulf Coast University, February 20. February 22nd the Owls will return home to play host to Sun Belt Conference member University of Louisiana-Lafayette at noon. All home matches are played at Patch Reef Tennis Center.
Source:† FAU Media Relations