DURHAM, N.C. – Another match filled with third sets determined the outcome Sunday at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center for the No. 18 Duke men’s tennis team. The Blue Devils led 1-0 and 2-1, but No. 40 Louisville captured all four matches that went the distance to come away with a 5-2 victory.
“We started off great, especially in the beginning of doubles with all six guys,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “We grabbed the momentum, but I feel like we didn’t continue that momentum at the beginning of singles. We got down on almost every single court early. They took it to us on a couple of courts. We battled back and got on track on a couple of courts. It came down to three, three-set matches. We needed to win two of them and didn’t win any of them.”
Sophomore Robert Levine continued his hot streak for the Blue Devils, coming away as a double winner with a singles and doubles triumph. Levine is tied for the team lead with five ACC wins, owns a squad-high four-match winning streak and has won seven of his last eight contests.
“Robert has been awesome,” Smith added. “He has really gotten things on track. He has been extremely consistent in practice. He has put in a lot of good practices. That’s showing up in his matches. He is playing with a lot of confidence and at a very high level right now. He was a huge bright spot today and all weekend.”
For the fourth time in the last seven matches, the Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead with the doubles point thanks to 6-4 victories on courts two and three. Court three finished first with junior Catalin Mateas and Levine downing George Hedley and Fredrik Moe. With the match even at 1-1, Mateas and Levine broke and held to go up 3-1. Louisville had the deficit down to a game three more times, but could never even the match. Levine and Mateas improve to 3-0, all in dual matches.
Court two earned the deciding victory as junior Jason Lapidus and freshman Sean Sculley topped Federico Gomez and Ciro Lampasas. The scoring flow followed the exact same format as court three with the Blue Devils breaking and holding at 1-1 to take a lead they would never relinquish. Lapidus and Sculley improve to 7-1 overall, 4-1 in dual action and 4-0 in ACC play.
Louisville made it a 1-1 affair with the first decision in singles as Gomez defeated sophomore Spencer Furman, 6-3, 6-4, on court three. The first set had Gomez lead 3-0 and 4-1. Furman cut the deficit to two games twice, but could get no closer. In the second set, the two were even at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 4- 4 before a break and hold by Gomez gave him the victory. Furman drops to 14-11 overall, 4-8 in dual action and 2-5 against ACC foes.
Duke regained the advantage at 2-1 with Levine on court four, where he topped Nicolas Rouanet 6-4, 6-2. A late break was the difference in the opening set as neither led by more than one game until Levine held and broke at 4-4 to earn the win. The second set had Levine break early to go ahead 4-1. Rouanet got a game back, but a hold and break ended the match. Levine ups his mark to 12-7 overall, 9-6 in dual matches and 5-1 in ACC action.
Seconds later, the Cardinals evened the match at 2-2 overall with No. 120 Parker Wynn defeating sophomore Nick Stachowiak 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 on court two. Stachowiak trailed 5-1 in the first set before making a late run with consecutive games before Wynn closed the action. Stachowiak responded in the second set with a 3-0 lead and another three-game run after Wynn got a game back. The third set had Wynn lead 3-0 and 5-1 before closing out for the match. Stachowiak falls to 22-10 overall, 11-7 in dual action and 3-4 versus ACC competition.
Louisville took its first lead of the match with Brandon Lancaster downing Sculley 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 on court five. In the opening set, the two were even at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4 before Sculley held and broke for the set. The second set had Lancaster turn a 2-2 tie into the set with a four-game run. In the final set, Sculley took the first game before Lancaster ripped off six straight en route to the victory. Sculley, whose four-match winning streak was snapped, slips to 17-11 overall, 9-8 in dual matches and 5-2 in league play.
The Cardinals got the clincher from Hedley, who clamped down on Lapidus in three sets on court six, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. The opening set had neither side ahead by more than a game until Hedley swiped the last two games. The second set had Lapidus use a late run for the win, ripping off the last three games after a 3-3 tie. Hedley and Lapidus were all square at 2-2 in the final set before a break and hold for Hedley gave him a 4-2 advantage. Lapidus got a game back to make it 4-3, but Hedley took the final two for the victory. Lapidus is now 10-5 overall, 3-2 in dual competition and 1-1 in ACC action.
The final point for the Cardinals came from No. 61 Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff, who fought past Mateas 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 on court one. Morin-Kougoucheff used a late rally in the first set as No. 99 Mateas led 5-3 before four-straight wins gave Morin-Kougoucheff the victory. Mateas held on in the second set, taking a 3-0 lead with Morin-Kougoucheff cutting his deficit to one at 3-2, but Mateas won three of the final four games to force a decider. Morin-Kougoucheff turned a break and hold at 1-1 into a 3-1 advantage, but Mateas responded with a hold, break and hold to go ahead 4-3. Morin-Kougoucheff answered again with a hold, break and hold to end the match. Mateas slips to 11-11 overall, 6-8 in dual action and 4-4 in ACC play.
“This can kind of go two ways,” Smith said of where the Blue Devils go from here. “You can hang your head and kind of mope a little bit, or we can get back to work and have the best practice of the year Tuesday. This was a really tough weekend for us. But I’m already looking forward to next weekend and our last two matches at home.”
Duke plays its final two home matches of the season this weekend, hosting Clemson for a 5 p.m. match Friday and Georgia Tech at 1 p.m. next Sunday.
#40 Louisville 5, #18 Duke 2
April 8, 2018 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
1. Nick Stachowiak/Spencer Furman (DU) vs. #17 Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff/Parker Wynn (LOU) 5-5, unfinished
2. Sean Sculley/Jason Lapidus (DU) def. Federico Gomez/Ciro Lampasas (LOU) 6-4
3. Catalin Mateas/Robert Levine (DU) def. George Hedley/Fredrik Moe (LOU) 6-4
1. #61 Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff (LOU) def. #99 Catalin Mateas (DU) 7-5, 3-6, 6-4
2. #120 Parker Wynn (LOU) def. Nick Stachowiak (DU) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
3. Federico Gomez (LOU) def. Spencer Furman (DU) 6-3, 6-4
4. Robert Levine (DU) def. Nicolas Rouanet (LOU) 6-4, 6-2
5. Brandon Lancaster (LOU) def. Sean Sculley (DU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
6. George Hedley (LOU) def. Jason Lapidus (DU) 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
Louisville 15-7, 5-4 ACC; National ranking #40
Duke 13-10, 4-4 ACC; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,4,2,5,6,1)
Official: Alan Steinhauser T-3:00 A-102