Lehigh Tops Navy in Marathon Tennis Match
April 16, 2011
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Lehigh won the doubles point and a pair of third-set tiebreakers in singles to edge the Navy men's tennis team by the score of 4-3 Saturday afternoon at the Lewis Tennis Center in Bethlehem, Pa.
The five and one-half hour match was the second of two semifinal matches to be played in this weekend's Patriot League Tournament. The second-seeded Mountain Hawks will play top-seeded Army Sunday in the championship match of the tournament, while the third-seeded Mids, who had won each of the last four league titles, has their season come to an end with an overall record of 17-11.
"It was a great tennis match and one that was hard to lose," said Navy head coach John Officer. "We put ourselves in good position in singles by winning the first set in all six matches, but could only win three of them.
"We have posted a record of 30-4 against the Patriot League over the last five seasons and two of those losses were this year to Lehigh. Despite the loss, I am very proud of our team and how they competed all season."
Lehigh won the first doubles match to be completed, an 8-4 win by Mark Goldberg and Ryan Krueger over Heyward Drayton (Fr., Valley Forge, Pa.) and Marcus Rebersak (Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) at No. 3 doubles. Navy's senior tandem of Nick Birger (Belleville, Ill.) and Owen Bullard (Concord, N.C.) evened the results with its 8-6 victory at No. 1 doubles against Collin Laffey and Troy List. The Mountain Hawks would earn the doubles point with an 8-5 win by Andrew Krentz and Matt Savran over Mike Eisenberg (Sr., St. Louis, Mo.) and Nicholas Gutsche (So., Sarasota, Fla.) at No. 2 doubles.
The Lewis Tennis Center features only four courts, which meant the matches at the Nos. 1-4 singles flights would be contested first. The No. 5 match would then be played on the court where the first singles match to be completed was held, with the No. 6 match taking place on the court where the second singles match to finish was played.
Navy didn't need much time to get the Nos. 5 and 6 matches started as the Mids won the first two matches to be completed in straight sets. Rebersak tied the team score at 1-1 when he posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Laffey at No. 2 singles, then Bullard won a 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 decision over List at No. 1 singles to give the Mids a 2-1 advantage.
Lehigh would regain the lead after posting a pair of three-set wins in the ensuing two matches to finish. Goldberg recorded a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Gutsche at No. 4 singles, then Savran won a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) contest against Drayton at No. 3 singles.
Navy's Matt Richmond (So., Kalamazoo, Mich.) would knot the score at 3-3 when he tallied a 7-5, 6-4 win over Krueger at No. 5 singles, but Birger would lose a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) match to Krentz at No. 6 singles to close out the contest between the teams.
Birger, who only recently was moved into Navy's singles lineup, ends his career with 73 career doubles wins. That exceeds the previous Navy and Patriot League record for career dual meet doubles victories by 10. Meanwhile, Bullard posted 70 career dual meet singles wins and 132 combined singles and doubles wins to rank second in Navy history to Mitch Koch (76 and 132) in both statistical categories.
Lehigh 4, Navy 3
Doubles (3-1-2) -- Lehigh wins the doubles point
1. Nick Birger / Owen Bullard (N) def. Collin Laffey / Troy List, 8-6
2. Andrew Krentz / Matt Savran (L) def. Mike Eisenberg / Nicholas Gutsche, 8-5
3. Mark Goldberg / Ryan Krueger (L) def. Heyward Drayton / Marcus Rebersak, 8-4
1. Owen Bullard (N) def. Troy List, 7-6 (2), 6-3
2. Marcus Rebersak (N) def. Collin Laffey, 6-2, 6-3
3. Matt Savran (L) def. Heyward Drayton, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4)
4. Mark Goldberg (L) def. Nicholas Gutsche, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Matt Richmond (N) def. Ryan Krueger, 7-5, 6-4
6. Andrew Krentz (L) def. Nick Birger, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4)