No. 1 Men's Tennis Clipped, 5-4, in Battle vs. No. 5 HPU

No. 1 Men's Tennis Clipped, 5-4, in Battle vs. No. 5 HPU
Nico Dreer picked up his 11th win of the season in a straights sets victory at No. 4 singles. Photo by Joel Auerbach

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University's No. 1-ranked men’s tennis team went wire-to-wire with No. 5 Hawai’I Pacific before succumbing, 5-4, Saturday at Buccaneer Tennis Center. The Buccaneers fell to 14-2, while the Sea Warriors remained unbeaten at 13-0.

It was the second match decided by one point for the Bucs, and both of them have come against West Coast schools. Barry won a 5-4 verdict at No. 11 Azusa Pacific on March 5 in its three-day trip to Southern California.

HPU, whom the Bucs beat, 5-1, in last year’s NCAA quarterfinals en route to winning the national championship in Surprise, Ariz., took a 2-1 lead after doubles. Petr Michnev and Thibaud Berland defeated Barry’s Ahmed Triki and Ollie Lemaitre, 8-3, at No. 1. Mattis Wetzel and Jaume Martinez-Vich outlasted Barry’s Romain Costamagna and Leo Vivas, 8-6, in a back-and-forth, high-energy battle at No. 2.

Barry’s No. 3 team of Kevin Sielmann and Renato Lombardi coasted to an 8-2 win over Adriano Locorotondo and Yann Renault.

Michnev, the No. 2-ranked player in the country, was put to the test by Triki in the first set before holding on for a 7-6 (8-6) win. Michnev, a senior from Ostrava, Czech Republic, won the second set over the Bucs freshman from Tunis, Tunisia, 6-1.

Ranked No. 12, Barry junior Fabian Groetsch, a product of Nuremberg, Germany, continued to turn up the level of his tennis. With energy flowing from his racquet, Groetsch exuded loads of confidence as he knocked off sixth-ranked Martinez-Vich, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, at No. 2 singles. It was his first win over a ranked opponent this season, and a big triumph at that.

Barry newcomer Nico Dreer, an Albstadt, Germany native, was locked in during his 6-0, 6-4 win over Wetzel at No. 4 singles. Dreer improved to 11-1 overall, and 4-0 at No. 4 singles. Vivas, a senior from Caracas, Venezuela, who owns the No. 37 individual ranking in the country, gutted out a 7-5, 7-5 win at No. 5 singles over Locorotondo. Vivas matched Dreer for a team-leading 11 wins. He is 11-3.

His win put the Bucs ahead, 4-3, in the ever-changing momentum see-saw match.

But the Sea Warriors held on in the final two matches to finish – both three setters. Berland beat Costamagna, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, at No. 3 singles. Clemens Graute survived a gritty Lemaitre, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, at No. 6.

The Buccaneers will host Nebraska-Omaha at 3 p.m. Monday before going on the road for a pair of matches in the Orlando area next weekend.