SMU Bested By No. 21 Memphis, 4-0, In League Semifinals
April 19, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (SMU) - The SMU Mustangs took the first doubles win of the match against top-seeded and No. 21 Memphis, but the Tigers swept the following two doubles matches and three straight singles points to top SMU, 4-0, in the American Athletic Conference semifinals at the Racquet Club of Memphis on Saturday afternoon.
Senior Mischa Nowicki and freshman Arkidjas Slobodkins got SMU (11-13) off to a terrific start, as they beat No. 8 Joe Salisbury and David O'Hare of Memphis, 8-5, at No. 1 singles. Memphis' top doubles pair had won nine straight matches and have beaten seven nationally-ranked doubles pairs this season.
Memphis (14-4) responded, winning at No. 3 doubles by a score of 8-5. At No. 2 doubles, senior Alex Sanders and sophomore Nate Lammons held tough, tying the match at 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6, but ultimately the Tigers' duo of Connor Glennon and Cedric De Zutter won the match, 8-6, snagging the doubles point for Memphis.
SMU head coach Carl Neufeld acknowledged the importance of doubles in this particular match.
"We take pride in our doubles, as does Memphis," Neufeld said. "(Nowicki and Slobodkins) played absolutely fantastic. They opened the door for us to win the doubles point, but we just couldn't quite do it. At number-two doubles I thought we'd win. That was the most important part of the match, and it gave Memphis momentum."
Memphis took a quick 2-0 lead with Glennon winning at No. 1 singles due to retirement. O'Hare won at No. 6 over Tony Russell; 6-0, 6-1; and Ian Chadwell beat Slobodkins at No. 5; 6-2, 6-4. Memphis will play USF tomorrow in the conference championship.
"They're a very good team," Neufeld said about the Tigers. "I'm disappointed to lose, but excited that we played our best tennis at the conference tournament and to make the semifinals again."
The Mustangs advanced to the semifinals by defeating fourth-seeded UCF on Friday, 4-1. SMU has advanced to the conference semifinals in 17 of its last 18 seasons under Neufeld.
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