Men's Tennis Scores Comeback Win Over Georgia Tech, 4-3
April 13, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - For the first time this season, the No. 42 NC State men's tennis team came back to win a match after losing the doubles point, taking a 4-3 victory over No. 60 Georgia Tech in dramatic fashion on Friday afternoon at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Outdoor Tennis Stadium.
The Wolfpack (18-8 overall, 4-6 ACC) needed big comeback wins over ranked opponents in the top two singles matches and a three-set victory by freshman Austin Powell in the decisive contest to pick up its fourth conference win of the season.
No. 61 Jaime Pulgar downed Georgia Tech senior Kevin King, ranked No. 21 nationally, after losing the opening set 6-4, with wins of 6-3 and 6-0 to get his fourth victory this season over a ranked opponent. King is the highest ranked player Pulgar, who is 19-4 overall and 7-3 in the ACC, has beaten this year.
Unranked senior Dominic Hodgson pulled off a similar upset after losing his first set 6-1 against No. 48 junior Juan Spir. Hodgson patiently waited on Spir's overwhelming serve and fought back for a 7-6 (9-7) win in the second set to even the match.
Hodgson outlasted his opponent for a 6-4 win in the third set, for his fourth consecutive victory over an ACC opponent. He improved his overall record to 14-7 and his ACC record to 7-3.
Freshman Robbie Mudge started the Wolfpack off with its first point, winning in straight sets over Georgia Tech freshman Sebastian Lopez, 6-0, 6-3, in the No. 5 singles match to improve his record to 18-6.
Junior Dave Thompson lost in straight sets at No. 6 and senior Julian Sullivan, after battling with leg cramps in his third set, fell to Yellow Jacket senior Dusan Meljevic, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-2.
"This one felt particularly good, because we have been on the other end of a few of those 4-3 losses," said head coach Jon Choboy. "The two guys at the top of Tech's lineup are two of the better players in the ACC and in the nation.
"For Jaime and Dom to come back and beat them the way they did was impressive."
After Pulgar tied the match at 3-3, the final point came down to Powell, the freshman from Muscle Shoals, Ala., who has been resilient in three-set matches. He won the opener, but junior Juan Melian quickly tied it.
Powell fell behind in the third set, but surged back to win the final three games to give his team its come-from-behind victory. After losing his first two three-set matched during the fall tournament season, Powell has now won 10 of his last 11 three-set matches, including two against ACC opponents. He is now 16-5 during the spring.
"I can't say enough about Austin," Choboy said. "He showed a lot of poise and energy in that match."
Georgia Tech swept all three doubles matches, behind the play of King and Spir, who are ranked No. 2 nationally. They beat Pulgar and Mudge 8-3 to take the No. 1 match. Junior Dave Thomson and sophomore Sean Weber jumped out to an early lead in the No. 3 match, but fell 9-7 to Dusan Miljevic and Eduardo Segura. State is now 17-0 when winning the doubles point and 1-8 when losing it.
"We came out kind of slow in doubles and never really got going," Choboy said. "We just weren't energetic enough and they came out and popped us pretty good."
The Pack will conclude the regular season on Sunday when it hosts No. 71 Clemson at noon at Dail Stadium. Five members of the men's team - Pulgar, Hodgson, Sullivan, Akash Gujarati and Will Rollinson - will be honored prior to the final home match of their careers.
Next week, the Wolfpack will compete at the ACC Men's Tennis Championships at the Cary (N.C.) Tennis Center. Pairings will be announced at the beginning of next week.
NC State 4, Georgia Tech 3