Utah State men's tennis (8-5, 1-0 MW) posted its first victory over a nationally ranked opponent this season with a 4-3 win over No. 26 Old Dominion (8-6, 0-0 Conference USA) on Friday morning in Tampa, Florida.
"The guys came out with something to prove today," head coach James Wilson said. "The attitude they brought to the court was awesome and it set the tone from the beginning. The doubles point was huge with all teams playing aggressive and with great intensity. We kept the momentum in singles with all six courts competing hard. Sammy (Serrano) did an incredible job of handling the pressure and came through with a big clinch."
Seniors Jaime Barajas and Andrew Nakajima started the Aggies off strong in doubles after only dropping one game in their 6-1 win at the No. 1 spot over senior Adam Moundir and junior Aziz Kijametovic, who are ranked No. 43 in the nation as a duo. The win marked the first time this season a USU tandem has defeated a ranked doubles team. Junior Samuel Serrano and sophomore Sergiu Bucur lost, 4-6, at the No. 3 spot against freshman Jannik Giesse and senior Michael Weindl. Freshmen Jose Carvajal and Valdemar Holm were also in a tight match, but they pulled through to win it, 6-4, at the No. 2 spot against seniors Vincent Schneider and Javier Jover Maestre to clinch the doubles point for the Aggies.
Barajas defeated his second nationally ranked opponent in singles of the season in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, against No. 84 Kijametovic at the No. 2 spot. Carvajal lost at the No. 5 spot, 2-6, 5-7, against Giesse, and Holm lost, 5-7, 3-6, at the No. 3 spot against Schneider. Freshman Felipe Acosta won his first set, 6-3, but lost the second, 4-6, to Weindl. Acosta dropped just one game in his final set at the No. 6 spot, winning 6-1. Bucur won his first set, 6-1, but then lost the next two, 7-6 (10-8), 6-2, at the No. 1 spot against Moundir.
With the match all tied up at 3-3, it came down to No. 4 singles where Serrano and ODU sophomore Francois Musitelli were competing in the third set. Serrano had won the first set, 6-4, but Musitelli had taken the second in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-3). Serrano clinched the victory for Utah State with a 6-3 win in the final set.
USU returns to the courts on Saturday, March 10, at 8 a.m. MT, as the Aggies take on George Washington (0-12, 0-1 Atlantic 10) in Tampa.
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.