Usually it's come in the postseason, but over the year, UB Men's Tennis has time and time again gotten big wins when they need them against the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Today, with their MAC Championship hopes rapidly fading, the Bulls gave themselves a shot of life with a 5-2 win over the Huskies that moves them into a three-way tie with the Huskie and Ball State before their season finale against Binghamton Thursday. The Bearcats currently sit second, but with one fewer match played than the rest of the conference.
I'll detail tiebreakers and possibilities later in the week, but suffice it to say, with both Buffalo and Northern Illinois facing Binghamton, and Ball State getting the relative walkover in Toledo, the Bulls absolutely need a win to claim a postseason berth, because one of these teams is getting left out and one of Binghamton and NIU will be getting to four wins.
Let's not move on too far from today, though, where UB prevailed thanks to the doubles point and then swept the middle of the singles lineup for a more comfortable 5-2 final margin.
After the doubles point, Akhil Mehta was the first to finish, putting Buffalo up 2-0, but NIU knotted the score with wins at #1 and #6 before Ethan Nittolo put his opponent away in straight sets, leaving it to Sergio Arevalillo and Amar Hromic in third sets. Both would win to ice the key victory that puts the Bulls back in the win column and creates a logjam of three tied teams and Binghamton fighting for three spots in the Tournament.
1. Hromic/Alvarez (UB) def. Manzanas/Russell (NIU); 6-1
2. Daun/Lundkvist (NIU) vs. Mehta/Miller (UB); DNF
3. Nittolo/Arevalillo (UB) def. Hamel/Hjertonsson (NIU); 6-4
1. Manzanas (NIU) def. Alvarez (UB), 7-5, 6-4
2. Arevalillo (UB) def. Lundkvist (NIU), 2-6, 6-1, 7-6
3. Hromic (UB) def. Hamel (NIU). 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
4. Mehta (UB) def. Hjertonsson (NIU), 6-4, 6-4
5. Nittolo (UB) def. Daun (NIU), 6-3, 7-6
6. Russell (NIU) def. Culicovschi (UB), 6-4, 7-6