Falcons Upset New Mexico, 5-2, at MWC Championships
The Air Force men's tennis team recorded one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Mountain West Conference Championships Thursday as the sixth-seeded Falcons, who were winless in their five conference regular season matches, defeated the No. 3 seed New Mexico, 5-2, in the tournament's first round in San Diego, Calif. Air Force advances to the semifinals to face No. 2 BYU on Friday at 11 a.m.
Air Force, 18-9, won five of the six singles matches after losing the doubles point. UNM's No. 1 doubles team of Ryan Stotland and David Kowalski, ranked 14th in the country, defeated 31st-ranked Shannon Buck and Tyler McClung, 8-3. New Mexico also captured the No. 3 match as Eric Conklin and Derek Boland beat AFA's pair of Justin Lau and Robby Alexander, 8-5. The No. 2 match was not completed.
Buck led the charge in singles for Air Force, disposing of Max Jones, 6-1, 6-3, at the No. 1 position for his 18th consecutive victory. He is now 25-2 overall and 21-1 in dual matches. Chris Dong and Alexander also posted straight-set victories for the Falcons. Dong won the No. 4 match, 7-5, 6-2, over Kamil Pajkowski, while Alexander avenged a defeat earlier this season to Boland by winning at the No. 6 spot, 7-5, 6-1.
UNM's Stotland came from behind to defeat McClung at No. 2, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, so Air Force needed to win one of the last two matches on the court to post the upset. Trevor Johnson (No. 3) and Justin Lau (No. 6) each lost his first set, but rallied to win the second set and Johnson clinched the match for the Falcons with an exciting 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Kowalski. For good measure, Lau also won his match, beating Boland, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
"This was a great win for our program," said head coach Rich Gugat. "Chris Dong played his best match of the year and gave us a tremendous lift with his victory, and Trevor Johnson beat a very good player that defeated him earlier this season."
No. 6 Air Force 5, No. 3 New Mexico 2
April 28, 2005, San Diego, Calif.
MWC Championships -- First Round Singles 1. Shannon Buck (AF) def. Max Jones, 6-1, 6-3 2. Ryan Stotland (UNM) def. Tyler McClung, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 3. Trevor Johnson (AF) def. David Kowalski, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 4. Chris Dong (AF) def. Kamil Pajkowski, 7-5, 6-2 5. Justin Lau (AF) def. Eric Conklin, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
6. Robby Alexander (AF) def. Derek Boland, 7-5, 6-1 Doubles 1. Stotland/Kowalski (UNM) def. Buck/McClung, 8-32. Dong/Johnson (AF) vs. Jones/Pajkowski, DNF3. Conklin/Boland (UNM) def. Lau/Alexander, 8-5