INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's tennis team (16-8) fell just short of earning the program's first conference championship on Saturday, as the Phoenix was defeated 4-1 by Cleveland State (16-7) in the Horizon League title match at North Central High School in Indianapolis. It marks the fourth time the Phoenix has finished as the Horizon League's runner-up, while the Vikings picked up their fourth consecutive conference crown.
The day started with Cleveland State earning the doubles point after winning the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches. Green Bay's Fabian Gogolin (Cologne, Germany) and Christoph Hopfe (Castrop-Rauxel, Germany) were defeated 8-3 by Rob Fox and John Haley in the top spot, while Erik Finkenbrink (Duelman, Germany) and Josh Oothoudt (Minot, N.D.) fell 8-2 to Yannick Goossens and Chris Klepatz at No. 2.
The Phoenix rebounded to put together some strong singles performances, but the Vikings prevailed in the end by taking the No. 3, 5 and 6 matches to secure the 4-1 win.
Hopfe, the lone singles winner for the Phoenix, knotted the score at 1-1 by picking up a convincing 6-0, 6-1 win over Klepatz at the No. 4 spot. The contest remained tight as Finkenbrink (No. 1), Cox (No. 2), Gogolin (No. 5) and Henning Jess (Kaltenkirchen, Germany) (No. 6) each split the first two sets in their respective singles matches, sending all four to third-set tiebreakers.
The Vikings made it 2-1 when Matt Kuelker wrapped up a 6-3, 6-3 win over Green Bay's Paul Swanson (Coon Rapids, Minn.) at the No. 3 spot. Haley moved it to 3-1 by finishing off Gogolin 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the No. 5 match and Matt Ford clinched the title by defeating Jess 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 6 spot.
Finkenbrink was locked in a tight contest against Goossens in the No. 1 pairing when the match ended. After falling 6-3 in the opening set, Finkenbrink bounced back with a 7-5 win in the second. The score was knotted at 2-2 in the third-set tiebreaker when the match was called.
Cox was also unable to finish a close battle at the No. 2 spot with Fox. Cox took the first set 6-4, and then fell 7-5 in set number two. Fox held a narrow, 5-4 advantage when time ran out on Green Bay's championship hopes.
Cleveland State 4, Green Bay 1
No. 1 - Yannick Goossens (CSU) vs. Erik Finkenbrink (GB) 6-3, 5-7, 2-2 DNF
No. 2 - Rob Fox (CSU) vs. Craig Cox (GB) 4-6, 7-5, 5-4 DNF
No. 3 - Matt Kuelker (CSU) def. Paul Swanson (GB) 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 - Christoph Hopfe (GB) def. Chris Klepatz (CSU) 6-0, 6-1
No. 5 - John Haley (CSU) def. Fabian Gogolin (GB) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
No. 6 - Matt Ford (CSU) def. Henning Jess (GB) 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-1
No. 1 - Rob Fox/John Haley (CSU) def. Fabian Gogolin/Christoph Hopfe (GB) 8-3
No. 2 - Yannick Goossens/Chris Klepatz (CSU) def. Erik Finkenbrink/Josh Oothoudt (GB) 8-2
No. 3 - Matt Kuelker/Matt Ford (CSU) vs. Craig Cox/Paul Swanson (GB) 3-6 DNF