Falcons Fall Just Short Against UNLV, 4-3

March 3, 2012

The Air Force men's tennis team came very close to winning its first Mountain West regular season match in nearly nine years Saturday but fell to UNLV 4-3 at the Academy. The Falcons, who haven't won a conference match since April, 12, 2003, fell to 5-6 this season, while UNLV improved to 4-8.

Air Force jumped out to a 1-0 lead with wins at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots. Junior Lance Wilhelm and freshman Grant Taylor defeated Bernard Schoman and Brian Kenyo, 9-8(2) at No. 1, while sophomores Andy Jackson and Alex Grubbs downed Rene Ruegamer and Johannes Markel, 8-5, at No. 2.

The Rebels fought back and took a 2-1 lead with straight-set wins by Tamas Batyi and Alex Bull at No. 4 and 2, respectively. Wilhelm evened the Match for Air Force with a thrilling, 2-6, 7-6(10), 6-2 win over Ruegamer. Wilhelm saved two match points in the second set tiebreaker.

Jackson gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead with his first career Mountain West win, a dominating 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Kenyon at No. 3 and the Falcons were well on their way to the victory with a third-set lead in each of the final two matches. Sophomore Ali Rizvi led Schoeman 3-0 in the third, but SChoeman rallied to win, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 and sophomore Alex Lineberry was ahead 5-2 in the final set over Charlie Alvarado, but lost the final five games and fell 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5.

"I'm proud of how our team fought today," said Air Force coach Dan Oosterhous. "In the past two years, we scored a total of one point on UNLV and to have a shot at the end to win it shows the progress we've made. But it's a very tough loss because we had leads in every singles match and couldn't finish them off."

The Falcons play at New Mexico State (March 8) and New Mexico (March 9) next weekend.

UNLV 4, Air Force 3
March 3, 2012
USAFA, Colo.

Doubles
1. Wilhelm / Grant Taylor (AF) def. Schoeman / Kenyon, 9-8(2)
2. Jackson / Grubbs (AF) def. Ruegamer / Markel, 8-5
3. Batyi/Sublette (UNLV) def. Rizvi / Joey Brandt, 9-8(0)
Order of Finish - 2, 1, 3

Singles
1. Lance Wilhelm (AF) def. Rene Ruegamer, 2-6, 7-6(10), 6-2
2. Alex Bull (UNLV) def. Landon Kinsey, 7-6(5),6-3
3. Andy Jackson (AF) def. Brian Kenyon, 6-2, 6-4
4. Tamas Batyi (UNLV) def. Alex Grubbs, 7-5, 6-2
5. Charlie Alvarado (UNLV) def. Alex Lineberry, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5
6. Bernard Schoeman (UNLV) def. Ali Rizvi, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Order of Finish - 4, 2, 1, 3, 6, 5