TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The 42nd-ranked Alabama men's tennis team (8-7, 1-5 SEC) dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 28 Vanderbilt (10-7, 1-5 SEC) on Sunday at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium. The Crimson Tide was able to get the early advantage after winning the doubles point, but the Commodores would go on to take four of the six singles matches for the team victory.
"Today was an agonizing loss," Alabama Head Coach Billy Pate said. "There is no other way to phrase it. I thought we prepared well all week. We did a good job in doubles, but we just did not carry that momentum into singles and put ourselves in tough positions."
In one of its closest doubles points of the season, Alabama came up big down the stretch to post 8-6 wins on courts one and three to secure the early edge in the match. At No. 1 doubles, junior Ricky Doverspike and sophomore Jarryd Botha knocked off the Commodores' 49th-ranked pair of senior Adam Baker and sophomore Ryan Lipman moments before senior Trey Walston and freshman Daniil Proskura finished off senior Bryant Salcedo and freshman Blake Bazarnik on court three. The Tide completed the doubles sweep as juniors Vikram Reddy and Michael Thompson dominated senior Alex Zotov and junior Charlie Jones in the tiebreaker to win 8-7(2).
Vanderbilt earned its first point of the afternoon with a win on court two singles as Baker topped 111th-ranked Botha 6-2, 6-1. Sophomore Ian Chadwell put Alabama back in front with a win on court six as he took down Zotov 6-0, 4-6, 6-1. The Commodores evened the score at 2-2 as 28th-ranked Lipman posted a 7-6(5), 6-3 win over Doverspike. Doverspike led during the early parts of the opening set before Lipman took the frame in the tiebreaker. Vanderbilt went on to win the next two singles matches, both in three sets, for the team victory. On court five. Bazarnik tallied a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Thompson to bring the Commodores to within one point of securing the match. Jones provided the final point for Vanderbilt with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over Proskura on court three.
The rally on court four would continue despite the team victory being decided. Reddy, down 3-0 in the third set, would battle back to even the frame and eventually win in another tiebreaker to take the match 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4).
Next up, the Tide will travel to take on Arkansas and LSU on Friday, April 1, and Sunday, April 3, respectively. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CT.
"We needed a complete team effort today to be successful," Pate added. "We'll get back to work and prepare for our tough road trip ahead at Arkansas and LSU."
1. Doverspike/Botha (UA) def. No. 49 Baker/Lipman (VU) 8-6
2. Reddy/Thompson (UA) def. Jones/Zotov (VU) 8-7(2)
3. Proskura/Walston (UA) def. Salcedo/Bazarnik (VU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
1. No. 28 Ryan Lipman (VU) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 7-6(5), 6-3
2. Adam Baker (VU) def. No. 111 Jarryd Botha (UA) 6-2, 6-1
3. Charlie Jones (VU) def. No. 115 Daniil Proskura (UA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
4. Vikram Reddy (UA) def. Bryant Salcedo (VU) 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4)
5. Blake Bazarnik (VU) def. Michael Thompson (UA) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
6. Ian Chadwell (UA) def. Alex Zotov (VU) 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
Order of Finish: 2,6,1,5,3*,4