FORT WORTH, Texas. – In a battle to the end, LSU’s Boris Arias snagged a clutch court five win over Rice’s David Warren to push his team to a 4-3 victory and advance to the second round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship.
With the scored tied 3-3 LSU looked to the senior leadership on court five to finish the match. Arias, after falling 6-4 in the first set, forced his match to three sets, ending in a tiebreaker in the third. He was able to clinch, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), to continue his senior campaign.
“It was a great college tennis match,” Head Coach Jeff Brown said. “Fortunately for us, we had Boris who has been very clutch through the years. It hasn’t been his best year so for him to get back to doing that again was great to see and was a great match to be a part of.”
Despite losing the doubles point, which has been the Tigers’ strong suit this season, LSU got the win from four singles players, bringing them to a 15-11 record.
Each class was represented with wins today beginning with a court two win from junior Justin Butsch against Jamie Malik, 6-4, 6-1. LSU sophomore Gabor Csonka followed on court three defeating Adam Gustafsson, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.
With two Tiger defeats following the two wins, freshman Nikola Samardzic came out with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (4-7), 6-1 win over Emanuel Llamas to tie the match and put Boris Arias in position to clinch.
Coach Brown commented on the three-week layoff between the SEC Tournament and NCAAs, which LSU was able to recover from after starting slow and dropping the doubles point.
“I felt that the three week layoff was really showing in doubles and the beginning of singles,” Brown said. “For about an hour and 20 minutes of the match we were in a lot of trouble but we got in the rhythm and started getting back in it.”
“We are hopeful that the SEC will change that and only have a two-week break between the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament. I think that really has been a big issue for us over the years and it was good that the guys were able to overcome that and be a part of a great match.”
LSU will continue to the second round of the NCAA Tournament to face the winner of the TCU/Jackson State competition, which will take place Saturday, May 14 at 1 p.m. CT.
“TCU has had a great year,” Brown said. “We look forward to getting back out tomorrow there and improving from what we did today.”