OMAHA, Neb. - Western Illinois men's tennis opened Summit League play with a 5-2 win over Omaha at the Hanscom Brandeis Tennis Center on Sunday.
With the victory, the Leathernecks improve to 3-5 overall and 1-0 in conference action, while the Mavericks fall to 1-2 and 0-1 in the league.
"This was a great way to open the Summit League season," head coach Chris Kane said. "While the win guarantees us nothing, a loss would have been devastating to our chances of making the conference playoffs. Our players knew what was needed, and they played with a purpose. I'm very proud of their effort."
Western picked up the doubles point by winning at first and second doubles.
"Ben Yue really came through for us, today. He, and Patrick Hammers, won a very tight #1 doubles match 8-6 to give us the critical doubles point," Kane added. "Ben's stab volley for a winner to hold serve at 6-5 was either spectacular or lucky depending on how you choose to look at it, but it sure was important."
In singles play, Western won four out of the six, including three in straight sets.
Holt picked up the first singles victory, cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles.
Omaha then won two straight to even the match with a 2-2 score. After winning the first set, Haertel fell in the last two to fall at top singles, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
At No. 2 singles, Patrick Hammers came out on the wrong end of a 6-2, 6-7 (8-10), 6-1 score to take a loss.
But Western then won three straight to complete the 5-2 win.
Yue snagged a hard-fought, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-1 win at fourth singles to put Western ahead, 3-2.
"At #4 singles, Ben fought off a first set loss and match point against him in the second set, to get the win going away 6-1 in the third set," Kane said. "It was a lesson in determination."
"Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the players who are consistently winning for your team," Kane mentioned. "Brad Holt at #3 singles and #2 doubles, Mitch Granger at #5 singles, and Max Cederkall at #6 singles once again came through with wins. Their consistency has been excellent this year.
"This was a gutsy win for us. 5 of our 6 singles players were injured, some more than others. Our players really fought today, and they had nothing more to give than they gave WIU, today," Kane concluded.
The Leathernecks will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Marquette on Saturday.
Western Illinois 5, Omaha 2
1. Conner Tieszen (UNO) def. Christoph Haertel (WIU) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
2. Eric McKnight (UNO) def. Patrick Hammers (WIU) 6-2, 6-7 (8-10), 6-1
3. Bradley Holt (WIU) def. Carlos Ramos Salazar (UNO) 6-1, 6-0
4. Ben Yue (WIU) def. Connor Larson (UNO) 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-1
5. Mitch Granger (WIU) def. (UNO) 6-3, 6-1
6. Max Cederkall (WIU) def. Matt Frost (UNO) 6-0, 6-4
1. Patrick Hammers/Ben Yue (WIU) def. Peter Greteman/Eric McKnight (UNO) 8-6
2. Bradley Holt/Christoph Haertel (WIU) def. Carlos Ramos Salazar/Conner Tieszen (UNO) 8-6
3. Matt Frost/ (UNO) def. Mitch Granger/Max Cederkall (WIU) 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (3,1,2,4,5,6)