Aztecs Sneak Past Falcons, 4-3

March 25, 2012

The Air Force men's tennis team dropped its second close Mountain West match of the season Sunday, falling to No. 55 San Diego State, 4-3, at the Lifetime Fitness Center in Colorado Springs. With the win, SDSU improved to 11-4 and 1-0 in the Mountain West, while the Falcons dropped to 8-9 and 0-3 in league play.

The Aztecs picked up the doubles point after earning victories at the Nos. 1 and 3 spots. Sophomores Alex Grubbs and Andy Jackson improved to 2-1 in Mountain West action with an 8-3 victory at the No. 2 spot over Thorsten Bertsch and Derek Siddiqui. SDSU's No. 3 team of Rickey Baylon and Spencer Simon then picked up an 8-6 win over junior Stephen Katrein and sophomore Alex Lineberry, setting up the No. 1 match as the deciding match. Javier Pulgar and Hunter Nicholas defeated Air Force junior Lance Wilhelm and freshman Grant Taylor, 9-8, taking the tiebreaker 7-5.

The Falcons played well in singles as well, but could not quite win the four matches necessary to clinch the match. SDSU moved to a 3-0 lead with wins at Nos. 4 and 6, then Grubbs rallied to defeat Siddiqui, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 at the No. 2 spot and Wilhelm posted his second Mountain West win in three tries and his first victory against a nationally-ranked opponent this season with an impressive, 6-4, 7-6 (7) win over 96th-ranked Pulgar.

Bertsch clinched the team match for San Diego State with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 win over Lineberry at No. 3 and Taylor won his first career Mountain West singles match beating Freddy Gelbrich, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 at No. 5.

"Our guys have shown a lot of toughness this year and we've pushed more teams to the limit than we've done a long time," said Air Force head coach Dan Oosterhous. "We had a significantly different singles lineup today and I'm especially proud of how our team responded. It's nice to see our team making progress against very good opponents like San Diego State. Losses always hurt but we take away a lot of positives from this match and we're ready to battle through the next last six matches of our regular season."

The Falcons are idle for a couple of weeks before taking on Boise State on Saturday, April 7 in Boise, Idaho.

No. 55 San Diego State 4, Air Force 3
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Lifetime Fitness Center
Colorado Springs, Colo.

DOUBLES
1. Pulgar / Nicholas (SDSU) def. Wilhelm / Taylor, 9-8 (5)
2. Jackson / Grubbs (AF) def. Bertsch / Siddiqui, 8-3
3. Baylon / Spencer Simon (SDSU) def. Lineberry / Katrein, 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1

SINGLES
1. Lance Wilhelm (AF) def. No. 96 Javier Pulgar (SDSU), 6-4, 7-6 (7)
2. Alex Grubbs (AF) def. Derek Siddiqui (SDSU), 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
3. Thorsten Bertsch (SDSU) def. Alex Lineberry (AF), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
4. Hunter Nicholas (SDSU) def. Andy Jackson (AF), 6-3, 6-4
5. Grant Taylor (AF) def. Freddy Gelbrich (SDSU), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
6. Rickey Baylon (SDSU) def. Stephen Katrein (AF), 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 2, 1, 3, 5