MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Marco Mokrzycki will get his revenge. Not on an opponent, but rather his teammates. Especially after they doused him with cold water, following his dramatic singles victory to give No. 4 Barry an exciting 5-4 win over NAIA No. 2 Auburn Montgomery Thursday at Buccaneer Tennis Center.
“All of them,” Mokrzycki said, his eyes glowing and thoughts already beginning to plot out his next move against his teammates. “I didn’t expect it. I’m not a freshman anymore. It was a nice surprise, but definitely unexpected.”
It was a cold shower well worth it, indeed.
Ranked No. 7 in NCAA Division II, Mokrzycki overcame a gutty and previously unbeaten Nico Pinones, who is ranked No. 2 in NAIA, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), at No. 1 singles to clinch the match for the Buccaneers. Mokrzycki survived three match points, becoming the beneficiary of two of Pinones’ errors, and using an ace to send the third set tiebreaker back to deuce. Barry’s All-American then closed out the match with the next two points to keep the Bucs perfect record in tact at 12-0.
“First of all, it’s nice that we kept our winning streak alive,” said Mokrzycki, who improved to 6-2 overall. “Every match gives us confidence that we can achieve great things this year. For me, I’m happy that I could win it. My two losses came in the third set, so I’m happy I was able to pull this one out.
“At our facility, most of the time it’s windy. Even though we practice there, we have to play a little more secure. (My opponent) was playing with a lot of spin, and was very aggressive, but not missing. So I was forced to play long rallies, which made it very difficult at the end.”
The 5-4 victory was Barry’s second of the season – the other coming against Division II’s No. 2-ranked West Florida 13 days earlier in Valdosta, Ga.
Down 3-2 at No. 1 doubles, the Buccaneers second-ranked doubles team of Mokrzycki and Fabian Groetsch rattled off six straight points to beat the Warhawks' third-ranked Hewitt and Bence Toth, 8-6.
At No. 2 doubles, Barry’s Leo Vivas and Romain Costamagna defeated No. 14 Zino Jouini and Othmane Lalami, 8-6. Vivas and Costamagna were down a break early, but used some strong returns to finish off the Warhawks’ pair with a flurry of winners.
Auburn Montgomery’s No. 3 duo of Nico Pinones and Miguel Grifol beat Kevin Sielmann and Renato Lombardi, 8-1.
Ranked 16th in the country, Groetsch, who claims to be as fit as he’s been all year, beat Hewitt, ranked sixth in NAIA, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 2 singles. Costamagna remained unbeaten with a 6-4, 6-2 convincing win over Zino Jouini at the No. 4 flight.
Toth overcame a three-set battle from Sielmann, winning 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 at No. 3 singles. Sielmann trailed 3-0 in the second set tiebreaker, but won five of the last six points to send the match to a third set.
Grifol beat Lombardi, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 5. Lalami, ranked No. 14, defeated Vivas, 6-4, 6-0, at No. 6.
The Buccaneers won both of the sets that went to tiebreakers, with Sielmann and Mokrzycki holding on when tension mounted.
Barry, which hosts No. 37 Northwood (Mich.) at 3 p.m. Friday, was without three players due to illness.
“It shows the guys that are stepping in are capable of playing great tennis,” Mokrzycki said. “Some of the guys that lost today had some tough matches. Being able to substitute three important players shows just how deep this team is.”