Falcons Rally to Beat Eastern Washington, 4-3

    Team captain Taylor Soster
    Team captain Taylor Soster

    Feb. 5, 2011

    The Air Force men's tennis team continued its undefeated spring season Saturday with a 4-3 come from behind victory over Eastern Washington University at the Academy. The Falcons, who improved to 4-0, won four of the six singles matches after losing the doubles point.

    EWU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by winning at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. James Russell and Chris Eriksson opened things up with an 8-5 win over AFA freshman Alex Grubbs and Danny Gies at the No. 3 position. Sophomore Lance Wilhelm and freshman Andy Jackson then won the No. 1 match, 8-3, over Chad Henninger and Julian Sanchez. EWU's No. 2 team of Stefan Simikic and Kyle Koetje clinched the doubles point with a 9-8 victory over senior Taylor Soster and freshman Lucas Marin-Salcedo. The Eagle duo, which saved two match points, won the tiebreak 9-7.

    In singles play, Grubbs started the Falcon rally with a dominant, 6-0, 6-2 win at the No. 4 spot over Sanchez, followed by Wilhelm winning the No. 1 match, 6-2, 6-3 over Fernando Mussolini. Simikic then evened the match at 2-all with a 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 3 over Marin-Salcedo.

    Jackson joined Grubbs and Wilhelm with a 4-0 record in singles when he defeated Navarro, 7-6(13), 6-3 and Soster clinched the match for the Falcons by winning the No. 5 match 6-4, 6-1 over Henninger. Keotje won the final match, 6-2, 3-6, (10-8) over freshman Steven Young at No. 6.

    "This was a great win for our team today," said Air Force head coach Dan Oosterhous. "The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker at No. 2. We had our chances but they pulled it out, fighting off two match points. Andy Jackson pulled out a clutch first-set tiebreaker, which proved to be the turning point of the team match and then our team captain, Taylor Soster, sealed the win with a clutch straight set win at No. 5."

     

     

    The Falcons wrap up their five-match homestand on Sunday, Feb. 13 against New Mexico State at the Academy, beginning at noon.

    Air Force 4, Eastern Washington 3
    Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011
    USAFA, Colo.

    Singles
    1. Lance Wilhelm (AF) def. Fernando Mussolini, 6-2, 6-3
    2. Andy Jackson (AF) def. Mario Navarro, 7-6 (13), 6-3
    3. Stefan Simikic (EWU) def. Lucas Marin-Salcedo, 7-5, 6-3
    4. Alex Grubbs (AF) def. Julian Sanchez, 6-0, 6-2
    5. Taylor Soster (AF) def. Chad Henninger, 6-4, 6-1
    6. Kyle Keotje (EWU) def. Steven Young, 6-2, 3-6, (10-8)
    Order of Finish: 4, 1, 3, 2, 5, 6

    Doubles
    1. Wilhelm / Jackson (AF) def. Henninger / Sanchez, 8-3
    2. Simikic / Koetje (EWU) def. Soster/Marin-Salcedo, 9-8 (7)
    3. James Russell / Chris Eriksson (EWU) def. Grubbs / Danny Gies, 8-5
    Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2

    Inside Men's Tennis