Lupo leads showing at ITA Regionals
LAS VEGAS – In the final fall event of 2011, Northern Colorado freshman Ben Gendron and junior Brandon Lupo played the best tennis of the season at the Men's ITA Mountain Regionals at the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas.
The pair played singles and then teamed up for doubles action over the four day tournament. In doubles, the team posted a 2-2 mark. In singles, Lupo went 3-2, advancing to the round of 16 in consolation finals, while Gendron was 0-2.
"They executed very well all weekend in doubles," said Head Coach Tim Bearman. "Every point was a battle and they played at a high level."
In the opening round, the two defeated ninth-seeded Johannes Markel and Bernard Schoeman from UNLV, 9-8 (7-5).
In the second round, Gendron and Lupo had match point against Denver's duo of Alex Clinkenbeard and Luke Manley, but one of them hit a great shot that landed on the baseline to keep the Pioneers alive and they went on to win 9-7.
The pair quickly rebounded to defeat Big Sky Conference foes Mikolaj Caruk and Carl Kuschke from Montana, 8-4.
"The match against Denver definitely stung a little, but I'm proud of the way we came back to beat Montana's number one team," said Bearman. "It's always positive to have success against a conference opponent."
In the final match of the weekend Gendron and Lupo ran up against Arizona's Carlos Bermudez and Mario Urquidi, falling 8-5. The Bears were slow to get started in the match, going down 7-1 before they fought back to win the next four games and pull within a break, but Arizona held for the 8-5 win.
"I was proud of the comeback," said Bearman. "The guys served and returned well all weekend in doubles and it was fun to watch."
In singles action, Gendron got a glimpse of his future with the Bears as he met a pair of Big Sky opponents in Andrew Warren from Montana and Dave Hintze from Weber State. Warren, a junior for the Griz defeated the freshman 6-3, 6-3 and then Hintze, a senior for the Wildcats got the better of Gendron as he lost 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
"Ben had two tough matches," said Bearman. "He didn't play very well in the first round, but rebounded to play an awesome match against (Hintze). There was great tennis by both guys in the second round. Almost just as impressive as the tennis, was the great sportsmanship displayed by both players during the match. It was nice to see two players invested so heavily in the match, while also maintaining their composure. Unfortunately, in collegiate tennis, it is sometimes the norm to have players make questionable calls and get into it after each point and it didn't happen in this match. Even though Ben came up a little short in the match, I was proud of the way he handled himself all weekend."
Lupo had the best run in recent history for the Bears. His 3-2 singles record brought his overall fall record to 7-4, a great start to 2011-12.
Lupo dropped his first match, 6-3, 7-6 to Alex Grubbs from the Air Force Academy, but he quickly recovered.
In the first round of consolation, Lupo won 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 over Montana's Ethan Vaughn, then continued his solid play with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Jose Bendeck from Idaho. In the third consolation round, Lupo solidly defeated Nevada's Jordan Rozenfeld, 6-1, 6-1 before losing to Warren from Montana, 6-4, 7-6.
"It was a great end to the fall season and it seems like we are closing the gap on some of the programs," said Bearman. "The great thing is that as a team we have a lot of room for improvement and a little time to get to work and tighten some things up. If we can make some adjustments and the guys are able to stay positive and maintain the desire to compete this spring we are capable of having a nice season."
The spring season begins on January 21 as the men travel to the Air Force Academy. Match time has not yet been set.