No. 28 Men's Tennis Falls 4-3 to No. 6 Duke
March 16, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – No. 6 Duke swept the doubles point from NC State in Friday afternoon’s meeting between nationally ranked teams at the Wolfpack’s Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Outdoor Tennis Stadium and survived a singles scare to take a 4-3 victory, in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
“They are a good team that beat a good team today,” NC State head coach Jon Choboy said. “We had to earn the three points that we got today, but they had to work hard to get theirs too.
“We didn’t do some things well that have been pretty steady for us this year, especially in doubles. I think everything that went wrong for us today is easily fixable.”
It’s the third time in the last seven years that the Wolfpack has played the Blue Devils to a 4-3 outcome.
Senior Dominic Hodgson, freshman Austin Powell and junior Rafael Paez all won singles matches for the No. 28 Wolfpack (14-3 overall, 0-1 ACC). Hodgson (8-4) played his best match of the year and cruised to a relatively smooth win at No. 3 singles, beating Torsten Wietoska, 6-3, 6-2, to give the Wolfpack its first point of the match.
Powell (11-1) trailed in both of his long sets against Blue Devil sophomore Fred Saba to win 7-5, 7-6 (1) to notch his team’s second point.
Wolfpack senior Jaime Pulgar, ranked No. 66 nationally, was ahead 3-0 in his second set against No. 3 Henrique Cunha, hoping to force a third set. But Cunha won six straight sets to finish off Pulgar and clinch the match for the Blue Devils (13-2), 6-4, 6-3.
Paez (5-1) finished out the match with a three-set winner over Duke’s Luke Marchese, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“I was pleased the way we competed throughout the lineup,” Choboy said. “I thought Austin really competed hard throughout his match. He challenged for every point.”
Wolfpack freshman Robbie Mudge’s 14-match winning streak came to an end, as he lost at No. 2 singles to No. 18 Chris Mengel, 6-4, 6-2, for his first loss of the season.
“Even though he lost, I thought he played well,” Choboy said. “I think it will be a good learning experience for him.”
Duke’s Jason Tahir also defeated Wolfpack senior Julian Sullivan, 6-1, 6-3.
In doubles action, the Blue Devils swept all three matches, with Cunha and Mengel beating NC State’s Sullivan and Matt Weber by a narrow 8-7 margin.
The Wolfpack returns to action on Sunday, when it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face No.32 North Carolina at 1 p.m.
“Carolina is a good team too,” Choboy said. “It’s a difficult match because it is on the road. I feel like we will learn a lot from this loss today and be ready to play on Sunday.”
No. 3 Duke 4, No. 28 NC State 3