Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday teams from all across the nation descended upon Whitewater to compete in the NCAA Team Tournament. This is UWW's second straight year hosting, and many of the foes were familiar. The 'Hawks were given the #3 seed in our region, and had a bye on Friday which set-up for a great second round match against #2 seed Gustavus Adolphus. The 'Hawks and the Golden Gusties had met once before this year with GAC comign away victorious. This time the 'Hawks were not going to go down quite so easy.
On Saturday the 'Hawks rose and got ready for the match, but due to inclement weather the match was forced inside the Four Lakes Athletic Club. Regardless of where the match was being played the 'Hawks were going to be ready. As the match started it was clear both teams were going to fight extremely hard for this match, and it was going to be intense. 1 and 2 doubles was a tale of two matches. At 1 doubles Shklyar/Osborne made 4 quick volley errors to get broken in the first game, while McGlashen/Bayliss used some volley errors from the opponents to break the first game. One thing remained the same between 1 and 2 doubles, the team that grabbed that first break jumped out to an early lead, and both teams eventually went on to win the match. 3 doubles was a little tighter. Balkin/Humphreys had come out and played well early, but both teams were on serve till the 'Hawks made their move at 3-2, breaking then holding to make the score 5-2. Form there each teams traded holds until the 'Hawks came out victorious 8-5 at 3 doubles. This meant that the Warhawks had the 2-1 lead heading into singles (only the second time this year the 'Hawks have lead a nationally ranked team in doubles).
The energy in FLAC was electric and the guys were looking to close out Gustavus for only the second time in school history (first time in the NCAA tournament). As the first sets in single unfolded the 'Hawks had to feel pretty good about themselves. The 'Hawks were able to pick up first sets at the 1, 3, 4, and 6 singles positions. Only Balkin at 2 and Bayliss at 5 were unable to pull out their first set. Eventually Bayliss fell at 5 singles, and the match was tied at 2-2. Around this time Byron was making a comeback to grab the second set. Unfortunately for the 'Hawks though the Gusties were making their charge to grab the second sets at 3, 4, and 6 singles. Eventually the Gusties captured those second sets and 4 of the remaining 5 matches on went to a decisive third set. The one match still in the second set was Shklyar at 1 singles. He had fallen behind in the first set to his opponent 2-5, but came storming back to win the set in a breaker, so needless to say he was a little behind the crowd. McGlashen soon added another loss to the 'Hawks falling in a third set at 3 singles. Now Gustavus had the 3-2 lead, but soon after Shklyar finished off his second set at 1 singles to tie the match back up at 3-3. All eyes now turned to Balkin, Humphreys, and Osborne who were in the heart of their third sets when Shklyar tied up the match at 3-3. Whichever team could come away with two of these matches would be the victor. At 6 singles Osborne had been fighting off cramps since the end of the second set, and he found himself at 3-3 before falling the next 3 games to fall in the third set 3-6. This meant Gustavus had the 4-3 lead. At 4 singles Humphreys had regained his from after a tough second set, and he was close to getting a break. At 2 singles Balkin got a big break at 4-4, and had an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-4. He fell down early 0-30, but fought it back to 30-30. On that 30-all point Balkin put in a great first serve, but his opponent was unscathed hitting a huge return in the corner to win the point and eventually the game. Now Balkin was at 5-5 in the third and his opponent didn't blink holding quickly forcing Balkin now to serve to stay in the match. Over at 4 singles around this time Humphreys got the break he'd been looking for the whole match to make it 5-3, but Balkin fell quickly at 5-6 and the Gusties walked away from the match victorious 5-3.
To see individual match scores click here
To see individual match scores click here
Overall, it was a tough match. We fought hard and had the chances, but just couldn't come up with them. I am extremely pleased with the guy's effort. It was one of the hardest fought matches from our team that I've seen in a long time, and that's what Warhawk Tennis is about. The 'Hawks showed a lot of heart this weekend, and hopefully it carries them on to next year.