The No. 38 UW mens tennis team closed out its impressive regular season on Saturday afternoon, sweeping No. 74 Michigan State, 7-0, at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The win solidified the Badgers position at fourth in the Big Ten, tying for their best conference standing since they came fourth in 1994.
Wisconsin concluded its regular season with a record of 14-9 and 6-4 in conference. The Badgers, who were 3-4 in the Big Ten just two weeks ago, won their final three conference matches of the season in the talented Big Ten to notch fourth place.
This was a great way to end our home season, head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. We were able to win all of our matches against a Michigan State team that is stronger than what they showed today.
Pending results from the weekend, Penn State, Minnesota and Indiana all have an opportunity to tie UW for fourth place. The Badgers, however, will receive the fourth seed in next weeks Big Ten tournament regardless of how the aforementioned teams fare, as UW beat all three in head-to-head competition.
Michigan State dropped to 11-14 overall and 2-7 in conference with the loss.
Senior Lachezar Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria) was the first to finish in singles. After being honored beforehand in appreciation for the four great years hes put in with the program, the two-year team captain came up with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Jason Norville at the No. 4 spot.
It was great to finish this off with a win, Kasarov said. I dont know how to explain my feeling right now. These four years went by so fast.
Next to finish was Gian Hodgson (Savaneta, Aruba). Playing at No. 6, the sophomore beat Brendan Kinkopf, 6-4, 6-0, to close out his 2007 regular season a perfect 6-0 in singles.
Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) capped of his great 2007 season with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Britton Steele at No. 5. Bellido finished the spring season with a stellar 18-3 singles record.
Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) put forth his usual strong performance, beating Tyler Sauerbrey, 6-4, 6-2, at the No. 3 slot. Freshman star Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) followed soon after with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Alex Forger at No. 1.
Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) won the final match of the day to complete the sweep. The junior outlasted John Allare in a tough first set and then dominated the second to the tune of a 7-5, 6-1 triumph.
Prior to singles play, Wisconsin won two quick doubles matches to secure the opening point.
UWs No. 1 tandem Moritz Baumann/Lance Kasarov and its No. 3 team Jeremy Sonkin/Michael Muskievicz (Homewood, Ill.) were each able to make quick work of their opponents, each coming up with 8-1 wins.
Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Nolan Polleys 8-4 loss to Michael Flowers and Alex Forger at No. 2 doubles came after Wisconsin had claimed the doubles point.
Next up for UW is the Big Ten tournament, which will be hosted by Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., from Thursday, April 26, until Sunday, April 29. With the fourth seed, the Badgers will get a bye from the opening round on Thursday and play the No. 5 seed in the quarterfinals on Friday. The team occupying the No. 5 seed and the time of Fridays match are yet to be determined.