April 8, 2012

Lupo sends Men's Tennis season out on a high note

Led by junior Brandon Lupo, the Northern Colorado men's tennis team charged back to defeat conference rival Montana State 4-3 on Sunday, giving the Bears their second conference win of the season, and the most conference wins in a year since joining the Big Sky Conference.

The season ended with a 6-8 overall record and a 2-6 mark in Big Sky Conference play. The six victories for the Bears is double the previous Division I mark of three wins from a season ago.

"The guys battled, sustained their focus and were able to accomplish the biggest win ever for our program," said Bearman. To top it off, it was our last match of the season. Montana State is a great team and to win at their place, our first conference win on the road is a great accomplishment."

On Sunday, the Bears earned the doubles point with wins at the Nos. 1 and 3 positions giving them momentum as they entered singles play. The dynamic duo of Lupo and freshman Ben Gendron beat Niklas Brandes and Lander Jewett 8-4 and sophomores Michael Moya and Jeff Carlson defeated Diego Campos and Markus Schleuter 8-6.

"Gendron and Lupo continue to play great doubles and beat a very solid team at No. 1 doubles for their second win of the weekend," said Head Coach Tim Bearman. "Moya and Carlson were down 2-5 and tightened up their games. They started making more first serves and converting thier first volleys which allowed them take over the net. Then they returned well which put a lot of pressure on the MSU team and were able to take the momentum and win the pro-set."

After leading 1-0, the Bears quickly got down 3-1 with singles losses at the Nos.2, 4 and 6 positions. The Bears rallied back and won the next three matches with all matches going to a third set.

Lupo knocked off Brandes 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 1 and Gendron defeated Campos 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2.

Coming down to the last match, Moya fought and beat Jewett 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 giving the Bears an exciting conference win.

"With our backs against the wall, down 3-1 in the dual and to see those three guys step up and close out their matches was phenomenal," Bearman concluded. "Both teams were grinding every point out and nothing came easy for either team. I have been telling the guys all year that we aren't far away from making some noise in the Big Sky. To complete the season in this fashion with a quality win against a conference team is a well deserved reward for all of their hard work and determination."

This win concludes the 2011-12 season for Bearman and the Bears and the team was able to end on a high note with earning the most conference wins in a season with the win against the Bobcats. The Bears lose just one player in Andre Lepine from this year's squad.

Photo taken by Jerek Wolcott, University of Montana