Men's Tennis Pulls Out Dramatic 4-3 Win Over Clemson
April 15, 2012Senior Day Photo Gallery
RALEIGH, N.C. - On Senior Day, the NC State's No. 42 men's tennis team needed help from all three of its senior starters to post a dramatic 4-3 victory over No. 70 Clemson at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Outdoor Tennis Stadium.
Seniors Julian Sullivan and Dominic Hodgson teamed up to grab the first of two victories in doubles action, as the Wolfpack won the doubles point for the 18th time this season. Junior Matt Thomson and sophomore Sean Weber carried their match into a tiebreaker before winning 8-6 to secure the contest's first point.
All three seniors lost their first sets in singles action, but Sullivan fought back to win marathon tiebreakers in his second and third sets against Clemson junior Aryton Wibowo, tying the team match at 3-all. Wibowo fought of six different match points in the third set before Sullivan finally put him away with a 9-7 tiebreaker win.
"Sully did a fantastic job in his match," said head coach Jon Choboy. "It was a mental and physical battle the entire time."
Pulgar, a two-time All-ACC selection who is ranked No. 61 nationally, struggled early in his match against No. 75 junior Yannick Maden, losing the first set by a 7-5 score. He came back to win the second set 6-4, but the final set was tied 4-4 until Pulgar broke Maden's serve in the ninth game. He won his individual and the team match by winning the final game of the five-and-a-half hour contest.
It was Pulgar's fifth win this season over a ranked opponent.
"It was hard to get much more dramatic than our win on Friday (4-3, over Georgia Tech), but this one was," head coach Jon Choboy said. "What a gutsy effort by both Jaime and Julian after they lost their first sets.
"We never gave up hope that we could come back and get this one."
Though the Pack lost its Nos. 2, 4 and 6 singles matches, it picked up a big win by freshman Robbie Mudge, who won his 19th match of the season, beating Clemson freshman Hunter Harrington, 6-3, 6-4.
"Everybody on the team stepped up when we needed them in this match," Choboy said. "Robbie was very familiar with his opponent from their junior days and he did a good job winning that match."
The doubles point came down to the wire. Thomson and Weber, playing in just their third match together in the spring, took an early 4-1 lead on court No. 3, but the Tiger tandem of Dominique Maden and Wes Moran battled back to even the score at 4-all. After the match was tied again at 7-7 and 8-8, Thomson and Weber stormed back to take a 9-8 (8-6) victory.
The Wolfpack (19-8 overall, 5-6 ACC) heads into the ACC Men's Championships, which begin on Thursday at the Cary Tennis Complex, having won four of their final five regular-season matches. The Pack's 19 regular-season team victories ties for the second most in school history with the 1978 and '79 teams coached by J.W. Isenhour that won back-to-back ACC championships.
The school record of 20 regular-season wins was set by Choboy's back-to-back NCAA Tournament teams, which had overall records of 20-11 in 2006 and 23-10 in '07.
The Pack's five ACC victories ties for the second most conference wins in school history. Choboy's 2007 team was also 5-6 in the league's final standings, while the 1978 ACC championship team was 5-1 in the league. The 1980 Pack owns the school mark with a perfect 6-0 mark in ACC play.
Pulgar now has 20 individual wins on the season and freshman Robbie Mudge, who won both of his matches against Georgia Tech and Clemson in straight sets, has 19 wins.
Prior to the match, five Wolfpack men's players competing in their final home match were recognized for their contributions to the program. Besides Pulgar, Hodgson and Sullivan, senior Akash Gujarati and redshirt junior Will Rollinson were presented game jerseys in prematch ceremonies.
Pairings for the ACC Championships will be set on Monday and posted on GoPack.com as soon as they are announced.
NC State 4, Clemson 3