Men's Tennis Falls in NCAA Championships
May 11, 2012
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MALIBU, Calif. – For the first time this season, the NC State men’s tennis team lost a match after winning the doubles point, as No. 28 Washington eliminated the No. 38 Wolfpack in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships at Pepperdine’s Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.
The Wolfpack (20-10) grabbed an early lead in the match by sweeping the top two doubles matches. Senior Jaime Pulgar and freshman Robbie Mudge won a quick decision, 8-3, over the Huskies’ Emmett Egger and Matt Stith at No. 2.
Winning that initial point gave head coach Jon Choboy’s team confidence, since the Pack entered the contest with a 19-0 record this season when winning the doubles point.
“We did a good job of coming out strong in doubles and getting that point,” Choboy said. “We played well on all three courts.”
The Pack carried that momentum only briefly in the singles matches, as the Huskies overwhelmed the middle of the Pack lineup, taking three of four victories in straight sets.
Pulgar, the senior lefthander from Madrid, Spain, who is ranked No. 34 nationally, was leading his match against No. 23 Kyle McMorrow at No. 1 singles when Washington clinched the victory and the match was discontinued. Junior Rafael Paez of Atibaia, Brazil, was tied 1-1 and about to begin the third set in the No. 6 match was the contest ended.
“For the most part, they were able to turn the momentum around going into singles play and we couldn’t grab it back,” Choboy said. “We needed to put a little more pressure on them and we couldn’t get it done.
“It was a tough situation all the way around.”
The loss ended one of the most successful seasons in school history. This was just the third team to ever post 20 wins in a single season and just the fifth team in school history to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships. Three of those bids (2006, ’07 and ’12) have been under the guidance of Choboy, who is in his 10th year as head coach of the Pack.
“We are very, very proud of what we were able to do this year, in getting the team back in the tournament where we belong,” Choboy said. “We had great senior leadership all season long. After the match, our seniors challenged the young guys to keep this momentum going through the summer and to come back strong next year.”
While the loss ended the careers of seniors Hodgson and Sullivan, Pulgar (20-5) has been invited to play in the NCAA Championships individual draw, which will run from May 23-28 in Athens, Ga., following the conclusion of the team championship.
Washington 4, NC State 1