MALIBU, Calif. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's tennis team put forth a strong effort in its first NCAA Tournament appearance on Friday afternoon, but the hosts from Pepperdine proved to be too much as the Phoenix fell to the seventh-ranked Waves 4-0 at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu.
"I thought we fought hard and played pretty well," Green Bay head coach Mark Thomas said. "Our guys competed well and I'm really proud of the effort from start to finish. It's been a great year, and it's certainly something we'll build on. It was our first time at the NCAAs, and we're looking forward to bigger and better things in the future."
The Waves jumped out to the early lead, winning at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles to take the match's first point. Pepperdine's nationally-ranked (No. 15) pair of Alex Llompart and Finn Tearney defeated Green Bay juniors Erik Finkenbrink (Duelmen, Germany) and Craig Cox (Surrey, England) 8-1 at No. 1, while Felix Goepper (Seelbach, Germany) and Henning Jess (Kaltenkirchen, Germany) fell 8-3 to Hugh Clarke and David Sofaer at No. 3.
Green Bay regrouped and was more competitive in singles play, highlighted by senior Christoph Hopfe's (Castrop-Rauxel, Germany) 6-1 win in the first set of his No. 6 contest. Hopfe rattled off six straight wins over Pepperdine's Daniel Moss after dropping the first game. Moss then led a tightly-contested second set 5-4 when the match ended.
Finkenbrink gave Waves' junior Mousheg Hovhannisyan all he could handle in the unfinished No. 3 singles match. The Phoenix junior lost a tiebreaker (7-6 (7-4)) in the first set and was tied 3-3 in the second set with the NCAA's 105th ranked player when Pepperdine secured its fourth and final point.
Also playing against a ranked opponent on Friday was Phoenix senior Paul Swanson (Coon Rapids, Minn.), who had the tall task of facing No. 8 Sebastian Fanselow at No. 1 singles. Swanson performed well against one of the NCAA's top players, taking the early lead and keeping it close in the first set before ultimately falling 6-3, 6-1.
Fanselow finished off Swanson at almost the same time that Llompart defeated Phoenix freshman Michael Tenzer (Neuried, Germany) at No. 2 (6-2, 6-3) to secure the 4-0 win. Pepperdine also won at No. 5 singles, where Jenson Turner defeated Goepper 6-0, 6-2.
The victory marked Pepperdine's 21st straight dual win, breaking the school record of 20 in a row set in 1985. The Waves (26-4) will next face Washington - who defeated North Carolina State 4-1 Friday - on Saturday at noon in the NCAA second round.
Green Bay ends its 2012 season with a school-record 19 wins (19-7, 6-1 HL) after winning its first Horizon League title and earning its first NCAA Tournament berth.
1. #15 Alex Llompart/Finn Tearney (PEP) def. Erik Finkenbrink/Craig Cox (GB) 8-1
2. Jenson Turner/Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) vs. Michael Tebon/Michael Tenzer (GB) 6-2,
3. Hugh Clarke/David Sofaer (PEP) def. Felix Goepper/Henning Jess (GB) 8-3
1. #8 Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) def. Paul Swanson (GB) 6-3, 6-1
2. Alex Llompart (PEP) def. Michael Tenzer (GB) 6-2, 6-3
3. #105 Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) vs. Erik Finkenbrink (GB) 7-6 (7-4), 3-3, unfinished
4. Hugh Clarke (PEP) vs. Craig Cox (GB) 6-2, 4-2, unfinished
5. Jenson Turner (PEP) def. Felix Goepper (GB) 6-0, 6-2
6. Daniel Moss (PEP) vs. Christoph Hopfe (GB) 1-6, 5-4, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 3); Singles (5, 1, 2)
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