The No. 48 UW mens tennis team played neck-and-neck with No. 28 Michigan but fell just short, losing Saturday afternoons dual at Nielsen Tennis Stadium, 4-3.
The way the team played today would normally be good enough for us to be celebrating in our huddle, head coach Greg Van Emburgh said.
With the loss, the Badgers dropped to a 9-7 overall record, including 2-3 in conference. The Wolverines picked up their third straight win and improved to 12-4 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten.
Several Wisconsin players had trouble finishing off their Michigan opponents.
You have to find a way to close the matches out when youre ahead and take advantage when youre up a set, Van Emburgh said.
Michigans No. 61 Brian Hung clinched the match with a come-from-behind win over No. 98 Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) at No. 2 singles. Up 4-1 in the second set after cruising to a 6-0 win in the first, Sonkin was unable to finish Hung off. Hung fought back to tie the set at 6-6, win the tiebreaker, 7-5, and used his momentum to win the third set, 6-2.
Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) also lost a tight match to a ranked Michigan opponent, dropping No. 1 singles, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, to No. 55 Matko Maravic. Michael Dierberger was defeated as well, 6-1, 6-4, to Steve Peretz at No. 5 singles.
Looking at the more positive side for UW, the Badgers were able to win three of the six singles matches.
Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) continued his impressive freshman campaign, claiming No. 3 singles with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ryan Heller. Baumann now stands at 10-4 on the season playing mainly in the top-half of UWs lineup.
After a wet court put the No. 6 singles match on hold until one of the other five matches finished, Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) made quick work of Scott Bruckmann. Bellido triumphed, 6-1, 6-1, and improved to 12-2 on the season, including a perfect 7-0 at the No. 6 spot.
Lachezar Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria) concluded Saturdays dual with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win at No. 4 singles over Andrew Mazlin.
Michigan got off to a 1-0 lead in the match by coming out on the winning end of three close doubles matches.
No. 44 Polley/Baumann held their own at No. 1 doubles against one of the nations top tandems, No. 3 Hung/Maravic, but couldnt quite pull off the upset, falling, 8-5.
George Navas and Mike Sroczynski clinched the doubles win for the Wolverines when they defeated Dierberger and Brennen Phippen (Bradenton, Fla.) at No. 3 doubles, 8-4.
Soon after, Sonkin/Kasarovs shot at No. 35 Heller/Mazlin at No. 2 doubles fell just short. After quickly falling down by three games in the set at 5-2, Sonkin and Kasarov fought back to put themselves just one game back of the Michigan duo at 5-4. The pair, however, could not maintain their momentum, losing, 8-5.
UW will now look forward to spending its spring break in Texas for two dual matches. Wisconsin faces Texas Christian at 6 p.m. on April 3, followed by SMU at 4 p.m. on April 4.