INDIANAPOLIS (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's tennis team achieved its ultimate goal on Sunday afternoon, winning the school's first Horizon League Championship and earning its first berth into the NCAA Tournament. The second-seeded Phoenix knocked off No. 4 Cleveland State 4-1 in the tournament's title match at the Barbara Wynne Tennis Center, ending the Vikings' run of four consecutive conference crowns.
With Green Bay holding a 3-1 advantage, Phoenix freshman Michael Tenzer (Neuried, Germany) delivered the match-clinching point by closing out Cleveland State's Matt Kuelker 6-4 in the third set of the No. 2 singles contest. Tenzer's 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory gave the Phoenix its school-record 19th win of the season (19-6) and avenged its 4-1 loss to the Vikings in last year's finals.
"It feels unbelievable," Phoenix senior Paul Swanson (Coon Rapids, Minn.) said after the match. "This has been the dream since my freshman year, and after coming so close last year and not winning it, it just feels unbelievable. This was the ultimate goal all year, and the guys have worked so hard in practice for it every day."
Green Bay got off to a fast start, winning the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches to secure the doubles point. Juniors Erik Finkenbrink (Duelman, Germany) and Craig Cox (Surrey, England) dominated at No. 1, rolling over CSU's Nolan Marks and Ali Shabib 8-2. The duo of Henning Jess (Kaltenkirchen, Germany) and Felix Goepper (Seelbach, Germany) locked up the 1-0 lead by defeating Kuelker and Jorg van der Vloet in the No. 3 contest.
Van der Vloet exacted revenge against Goepper in singles action, knotting things up at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 5 over the Phoenix freshman, but it would be the lone point of CSU's afternoon.
Finkenbrink put Green Bay back on top with a convincing 6-1, 6-4 win over Marks at No. 3, and Cox stormed back from a first-set loss to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 against Shabib at No. 4 to make it 3-1 Phoenix.
Just moments after Cox's win at No. 4, Tenzer sealed the NCAA Tournament trip by winning three of his last four games at No. 2.
Swanson and CSU's Yannick Goossens did not finish what was shaping up to be a classic No. 1 singles contest. Swanson took the first set 6-3 in the battle between two first team all-league players, but trailed 3-4 in second. The No. 6 match between Green Bay's Christoph Hopfe (Castrop-Rauxel, Germany) and CSU's Matt Ford also went unfinished.
Green Bay will find out its NCAA Tournament opponent on Tuesday, May 1 at 4:30 p.m. CT during the Division I Men's Tennis Selection Show on NCAA.com.
Horizon League Championship
(2) Green Bay 4, (4) Cleveland State 1
No. 1 - Erik Finkenbrink/Craig Cox (GB) def. Nolan Marks/Ali Shabib (CSU) 8-2
No. 2 - Michael Tenzer/Michael Tebon (GB) vs. Yannick Goossens/Matt Ford (CSU) 5-7
No. 3 - Felix Goepper/Henning Jess (GB) def. Matt Kuelker/Jorg Van Der Vloet (CSU) 8-6
No. 1 - Paul Swanson (GB) vs. Yannick Goossens (CSU) 6-3, 3-4 dnf
No. 2 - Michael Tenzer (GB) def. Matt Kuelker (CSU) 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
No. 3 - Erik Finkenbrink (GB) def. Nolan Marks (CSU) 6-1, 6-4
No. 4 - Craig Cox (GB) def. Ali Shabib (CSU) 3-6, 6-0, 6-1
No. 5 - Jorg Van Der Vloet (CSU) def. Felix Goepper (GB) 6-3, 6-3
No. 6 - Christoph Hopfe (GB) vs. Matt Ford (CSU) 3-6, 7-5 dnf
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