LINCOLN, Neb. - Creighton men's tennis senior Ryan Norman stepped up with an inspired performance at the No. 1 singles position to become just the second Bluejay in 20 years to claim a singles win in the top spot against Nebraska during a 6-1 setback to the Huskers Sunday evening in Lincoln.
Norman, playing in his first career match at the top singles spot, defeated Nebraska's Eric Sock in a tight three-set match. He filled in at the top spot for classmate Billy Paluch who did not play due to an injury suffered Saturday at Iowa.
After dropping the opening set 6-3, Norman fought back to win the second stanza in a tiebreaker. The Wichita, Kan., native forced a deciding third-set superbreaker by dominating the second-set tiebreak 7-1.
Then the Bluejay senior became just the second player in the past two decades of Creighton men's tennis history to defeat the Cornhuskers at the No. 1 singles spot with a third-set win in the superbreaker. Norman joins his head coach, Tom Lilly, in the Creighton record books. Lilly topped the Huskers' No. 1 singles player in 1993.
"Despite going down in the first set, (Norman) kept fighting," Lilly said. "He played some of the best tennis I have ever seen him play tonight. It's a great win for him and the team and is something hopefully we can build on."
The Bluejays (1-2) fell behind early to the Huskers (3-2) who claimed the doubles point with a three-match sweep.
Norman and fellow senior Sean Mathison pushed Nebraska at the No. 1 doubles slot, dropping an 8-6 decision to the Husker duo of Andre Stenger and Marc Herrmann. CU sophomore Elliott Baker and freshman Brandon Lee fell 8-5 on doubles court two to NU's Brandon Videtich and Scott Elsass. The Creighton freshman tandem of Anthony Rauschenbach and August Nysted dropped the No. 3 doubles match 8-3 to Sebastian Florczyk and Bradford Zitsch.
Nebraska rolled out to a 6-0 lead with five straight-set wins before Norman's dramatic victory at the No. 1 singles slot.
Baker claimed nine games for the Jays at No. 3 singles in a 7-5, 6-4 loss to NU's Dusty Boyer. Mathison fell 6-3, 6-4 to Herrmann on singles court two. CU freshman Quinn Dippel dropped the first set 6-0 to Husker Andrew Dzulynsky but forced a second-set tiebreak before falling 7-6 in straight sets. Nysted saw his first action of his Creighton career at the No. 6 singles slot with a 6-1, 6-3 setback to Zitsch.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 23 when it hosts North Dakota at 6 p.m. CT.
Nebraska vs. Creighton
Feb. 10, 6 PM
Nebraska Tennis Center
Nebraska 6, Creighton 1
1. Ryan Norman (CU) def. Eric Sock (NU) 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 1-0
2. Marc Herrmann (NU) def. Sean Mathison (CU) 6-3, 6-4
3. Dusty Boyer (NU) def. Elliott Baker (CU) 7-5, 6-4
4. Tom Blackwell (NU) def. Brandon Lee (CU) 6-1, 6-0
5. Andrew Dzulynsky (NU) def. Quinn Dippel (CU) 6-0, 7-6 (7-4)
6. Bradford Zitsch (NU) def. August Nysted (CU) 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 2, 5, 3, 1
1. Andre Stenger/Herrmann (NU) def. Norman/Mathison (CU) 8-6
2. Brandon Videtich/Scott Elsass (NU) def. Lee/Baker (CU) 8-5
3. Zitsch/Sebastian Florczyk (NU) def. Anthony Rauschenbach/Nysted (CU) 8-3
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2