Mesa State falls at tennis nationals
In their first appearance at the NCAA Division II national tennis tournament, the Mesa State College men faced a little bit of everything.
First, a delay of more than two hours when courts got backed up because of close matches early in the day.
Second, being assigned the show courts at Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Third, the 18th-ranked team in the nation, St. Edward’s (Texas) University.
And despite losing 6-0, Mesa State coach Dan MacDonald said the Mavs didn’t blink.
“They competed really hard,” MacDonald said. “We had some chances at two and three (doubles) and one doubles was only one break.
“If we could have gotten a doubles point ... but the guys played their hearts out.”
Jordan Chomko and Nick Provenza lost 8-4 at No. 1 doubles, and then the Mavs lost two matches by identical 9-7 scores.
“Those freshmen (Andres Hernandez and Brason Hollabaugh) battled their butts off in doubles,” MacDonald said of the No. 3 team. Niko Carrizo and Rashad Khamis rallied from being down 6-3 to tie the No. 2 doubles match at 7-7 before losing.
St. Edward’s won at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6 singles to advance to the quarterfinals of the single-elimination tournament.
“It was a great way for those seniors to go out,” MacDonald said. “I was happy. You never know when you get to a big tournament atmosphere, a lot of people, the banquet (Tuesday) night, you have to have a player’s pass to get in and out of the complex, and then they put us on the top show courts.
“They just competed and played great doubles. I was thinking, ‘OK, at least they’re not coming out like deer in the headlights, they came out to compete.’ “
The Mavericks are bringing back three Intercollegiate Tennis Association awards: Chomko was selected the Central Region senior of the year, Khamis won the region’s Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship award and MacDonald was selected the Central Region coach of the year.