OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton men's tennis team nearly pulled off the upset of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, forcing the match to go into the third set of the No. 6 singles before Bradley pulled out a 4-3 win. The No. 6 Bluejays finish the season at 9-10.
The nearly five hour match showed early glimpses of being a back-and-forth nail biter. Ryan Norman and Sean Mathison defeated Ashton Kalhorn and Arthur Romanet 8-2 in the No. 2 doubles to start play for the Bluejays before Ahmed Albitar and Eric Nguyen defeated Elliott Baker and J.T. Christian 8-3 at the No. 3 doubles to even the playing field.
Creighton took an early 3-0 lead in the No. 1 doubles, before the Braves battled back to 5-4 at one point. The Bluejays then went on a run to claim the automatic doubles point, with Billy Paluch and Kyle Obermeier defeating Justin Abrams and Juan Diego Cuadrado 8-5 in the No. 1 spot.
Singles play continued in the same fashion for the two teams. Paluch shut down Ahmed Albitar in straight sets in the No. 1 singles spot, 6-1, 6-0 to give Creighton the 2-0 lead early. Justin Abrams then ousted Sean Mathison in the first set to win his No. 4 singles 7-5, 6-3 to bring the match to 2-1.
Another Bluejay point put the Jays up 3-1. Obermeier defeated Ashton Kalhorn 6-4, 7-6, winning in the second set with an 8-6 result in the tie-break.
The next two points belonged to the Braves, evening the match at three all. Juan Diego Cuadrado defeated J.T. Christian 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the No. 2 spot before Eric Nguyen defeated Gabe Nagy in straight sets at No. 5 singles, 6-4, 6-4.
That set-up a three-set showdown between Baker and Michael Davis at the No. 6 singles. Davis took the first set, downing Baker 6-1 in the opener. Baker and Davis then played to six all, forcing the seven-point tie-break.
Baker went up 4-2 in the tiebreak, before a run by Davis put the Bluejay freshman behind 6-5. Baker then won the next three points to force a third set in the final match in front of 200 fans at the Hanscom Indoor Tennis Center. Davis proved too much for Baker, as he finished the Braves win with a 6-2 third set.
Bradley advances to take on No. 2 Wichita State, with the other half of the bracket matching No. 1 Drake vs. the winner of Illinois State and Southern Illinois. Both matches will be at 2:00 pm at the Koch Family Tennis Center.
The Bluejays say goodbye to four seniors who played in their final match on the men's tennis team. J.T. Christian, Gabe Nagy, Joe Nora and Kyle Obermeier each played their final match for the white and the blue on Friday night.