WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – For the second straight season and the seventh time in program history, the Cleveland State men's tennis team captured the Horizon League Tournament Championship, picking up a 4-1 victory over UIC in the 2019 #HLMTEN Championship match.
· Cleveland State captured its seventh Horizon League Tournament title in program history, with all seven championships coming under head coach Brian Etzkin.
· The Vikings were making their 10th #HLMTEN Championship appearance, now owning a 7-3 record in the title match.
· Cleveland State's seven titles are tied for the second most in Horizon League history, while they are just the second team to win back-to-back titles on multiple occasions.
· Sunday's 4-1 championship victory marked the 10th straight win for the Vikings, as they improved to 19-7 overall this year.
· Horizon League Tournament Titles: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2018, 2019
For the second time during #HLMTEN Tournament play, the Vikings were able to pick up the early doubles point, picking up wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles for the early 1-0 lead. Clark Bilinovich and Raul Teichmann claimed a 6-2 victory at the No. 3 spot, while Nico Mostardi and Benjamin Slade clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 win at the top of the lineup.
With their win at the top of the doubles lineup, Mostardi and Slade are now tied for third on the CSU Doubles Wins List with 26 career wins as a tandem. Individually, Slade ranks seventh with 68 career wins, while Mostardi is just shy of the top-10 with 56 doubles victories.
Matthew Terry made quick work of his match at No. 2 singles then, giving the Vikings a 2-0 advantage following a 6-0, 6-0 win to notch his 25th singles win of the season.
The Flames were able to get on the board following a win at No. 4 singles, but the Vikings remained in control on the other four singles courts, and were able to pick up the next two points to close out the match.
Cleveland State gained a 3-1 lead following a 6-3, 6-4 win from Benjamin Slade at No. 5 singles then, as he picked up his 80th career singles victory to put the Vikings just one point away from capturing their seventh #HLMTEN Tournament title.
After trailing in the first set, Nico Mostardi came from behind to pick up a 7-5 win in his opening set, and then cruised to a 6-2 victory in the second set to clinch the match and the crown for the Vikings. With his win, Mostardi notched his 70th career singles win and improved to 16-6 this spring.
From The Sidelines
"I am so proud of how hard this team has worked all season long, and for them to capture the Horizon League Tournament title is awesome. They have really battled all year long, and were hitting their stride towards the end of regular season play. We are super excited to represent the Horizon League in the NCAA Tournament again this year, and we can't wait to see what our matchup is in the first round. I give a lot of credit to UIC, they had a great end of the year, and played hard in both of our matches against them this season."
"We were able to get out to two early breaks in doubles, and play with the advantage on all three courts the entire time. That is the kind of start that you need to get out to in a big match, and I thought we capitalized on all of our opportunities that we had today. So far this season, I think our doubles play has been a real strength for us, especially against Horizon League opponents towards the end of the season."
"Although we had the early lead, I thought there were some tense moments in the first sets in singles, and at one point it looked like we were going to split first sets, but we were able to finish out some close opening sets to keep the momentum in our favor. Over the last few weeks, Matt has been playing at a very high level, and he continued that today when he gave us another quick point to put some scoreboard pressure on UIC."
"Ben had a great performance in his last match against a Horizon League team, as he picked up a straight set win against a guy that he struggled against when we faced them last week in the regular season finale. And then I thought it was fitting that the Horizon League Player of the Year clinched the match for us today, as Nico flipped the switch on his court after falling behind early, to earn a come-from-behind win to bring the title back to Cleveland." – head coach Brian Etzkin
Cleveland State has earned the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and will be making its seventh appearance in the NCAA First Round. Fans are invited to join the Vikings for an NCAA Selection Show Watch Party tomorrow night (Monday, April 29) in the Wolstein Center, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the selection show slated to begin at 6:00 p.m.
Doubles (3, 1)
1. Mostardi/Slade (CSU) def. Hedstrom/Parlklo (UIC), 6-4
2. Phillips/Terry (CSU) vs. Wasilewicz/Wale (UIC), 5-5, unf.
3. Teichmann/Bilinovich (CSU) def. Strandberg/Dib (UIC), 6-2
Singles (2, 4, 5, 1)
1. Nico Mostardi (CSU) def. Johan Hedstrom (UIC), 7-5, 6-2
2. Matthew Terry (CSU) def. Niko Wasilewicz (UIC), 6-0, 6-0
3. Luke Phillips (CSU) vs. Kasper Parlklo (UIC), 6-2, 5-7, unf.
4. Anthony Nguyen (UIC) def. Raul Teichmann (CSU), 6-2, 6-0
5. Benjamin Slade (CSU) def. K. Panchapakesan (UIC), 6-3, 6-4
6. Clark Bilinovich (CSU) vs. Pelle Strandberg (UIC), 6-4, 4-5, unf.