The No. 39 Wisconsin mens tennis team faced several of the nations top teams this weekend and could not quite muster a win. The Badgers fell to No. 27 Boise State, 4-0, No. 34 Middle Tennessee State, 4-3, and No. 50 Louisville, 4-3, at the Blue Gray Tennis Invitational in Montgomery, Ala., this weekend.
After UWs (8-6, 2-2) first round match-up in the 16-team tournament against Boise State was rained out on Thursday, the two squads began play on Friday morning.
After taking the doubles point, the No. 27 Broncos transferred their solid play over to the singles matches. At No. 1 singles, Luke Shields, ranked No. 14 in the nation, took care of Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.), 6-2, 6-3, and Steve Robertson defeated Lachezar Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria) at No. 4 singles by the same score. Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) fought back against Blake Boswell at No. 5 singles, but to no avail. After dropping the first set, 6-0, Dierberger responded in the second set with a higher level of play, but lost, 7-6. Boise State claimed the match, 4-0, as the other matches did not finish.
Wisconsin was then placed in the consolation bracket and faced Middle Tennessee State later in the night. The Badgers were up 3-1 at one point in the match, but the Blue Raiders came roaring back to take a 4-3 win.
With singles matches played first, No. 34 Middle Tennessee State opened up with No. 62 Andreas Siljestroms 6-2, 6-0 win over Jeremy Sonkin at No. 1 singles.
UW responded by taking three straight matches from the Blue Raiders. Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) swept Alex McCann, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 6 singles, Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) beat No. 88 Marco Born, 6-4, 6-2, at No. 2, and Michael Dierberger defeated Joao Paoliello at No. 5 to give the Badgers a 3-1 match lead.
Middle Tennessee State, however, used three-set wins by Morgan Richard over Lachezar Kasarov and No. 103 Marc Rocafort over Moritz Baumann, along with two straight doubles victories to notch the 4-3 victory over Wisconsin.
The Badgers played their third and final match of the weekend on Saturday afternoon against No. 50 Louisville and again fell just one point short of a win, losing 4-3.
Wisconsin was able to the doubles point this time around. No. 23 Polley/Baumann defeated Robert Rotaru and David Simon, 8-4, at No. 1 doubles, while Sonkin/Kasarov downed James McArthur and Slavko Radman, 9-7, to give UW the two matches needed to claim the doubles point.
Unfortunately, Wisconsins luck would end there.
Lachezar Kasarov beat Kenneth Nordheim, 6-0, 7-6, at No. 4 singles, and Felipe Bellido took care of James McArthur, 6-3, 6-1, but that would be it for the Badgers. After dropping three matches and allowing the match to even up at 3-3, Damar Johnson won a tough, 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 contest over Nolan Polley to hand the win to Louisville.
No. 7 Notre Dame, who defeated Wisconsin, 5-2, when the squads faced off on Feb. 11, won the invitational, defeating No. 14 Alabama, 4-1, in the championship match on Sunday.
The Badgers will now look forward to their first home-court action in over a month. UW plays in-state rival Marquette on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and then face No. 21 Michigan next Sunday at noon. Both matches will take place at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.