Bucewicz Backstops Men's Tennis to 4-3 Win Over No. 61 Middle Tennessee
March 23, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - In a match that featured long-time opponents dating back to junior tennis days in Melbourne, Australia, Memphis sophomore Alex Bucewicz held off Middle Tennessee's Michael Staniak at No. 4 singles to give Memphis a 4-3 victory, Sunday. The win improves the Tigers' record to 9-6 and drops Middle Tennessee to 5-11 on the season.
Bucewicz was up 5-2 in the second set when Staniak pulled back to 5-5. Bucewicz moved ahead 6-5 but was unable to close out the match and was forced into the tiebreaker at 6-6. The Tigers' No.4 singles player took an early lead 1-0 in the tiebreak and broke serve to go up 2-1, but Staniak battled back to knot it at 4-4. A series of long rallies later, Bucewicz closed out the game and the match when a Staniak shot sailed long at the end of a baseline rally. The win improves Bucewicz to 11-1 at No. 4 singles and to a team-best 12-4 overall.
"This was a great win for our confidence," Head Coach Phil Chamberlain said. "All I've asked is the team give 110 percent in practice and in matches. We've had four players show up and play well, then five, not always consistent, but this is a great team effort."
The win is the Tigers' second win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season. Middle Tennessee was ranked No. 61 in the nation coming into the match, and was coming off a 4-3 defeat over Georgia State, a team the Tigers downed 5-2, Saturday.
Middle Tennessee took an early 1-0 lead on the strength of wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Memphis won the No. 1 doubles match, 8-3, while Middle Tennessee won the No. 2 match, 8-3, and the No. 3 match 8-5.
But Memphis rallied back, starting with freshman Brendan Malarkey's 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 5 singles. Memphis seniors Ben Stapp and Joe Schmulian made it 3-1, Memphis, with wins at No. 3 and No. 2 singles, respectively. But Middle Tennessee booked wins at No. 6 and No. 1 singles to tie it at three apiece, leaving a pair of Melbourne natives on the court to determine the match.
The win is the Tigers' fourth consecutive victory and avenges a 4-3 Memphis loss in Murfreesboro last year. It also marks Phil Chamberlain's first-ever win over Middle Tennessee, a program his son Michael played at for two years before transferring to Memphis to finish his collegiate career.
The Tigers will wrap up their five-match home stand Friday and the following Wednesday. Memphis hosts Tennessee Tech, Friday, at 3 p.m. and will face Murray State at 2:30 p.m., Apr. 2nd. Middle Tennessee remains on the road and will face No. 56 South Alabama, Thursday in Mobile, before squaring off against No. 20 Tulane, Saturday.
No. 67 Memphis 4, No. 61 Middle Tennessee 3
Order of Singles Finishes: 5, 3, 2, 6, 1, 4