Men's tennis improves to 3-0
Huston, we have a problem.
Oh. Never mind.
With all eyes focused on the only remaining match of Friday's contest between the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Mesa State, Ken Huston managed a heart stopping win over Adam Byrne at No. 6 singles to lift the Mountain Lions to a 5-4 victory. The win improved CU-Colorado Springs' record to 3-0.
Not long before Huston became the hero, he topped the list of potential goats. It was Huston, after all, who double faulted three times in the deciding game of his No. 3 doubles match. Huston and Jason Bisanti lost 8-6, putting CU-Colorado Springs in a 2-1 hole entering singles play.
Huston and Byrne learned that theirs was the deciding match when they were tied 3-3 in the first set. As all the other players and spectators crowded around Court 4 at the Broadmoor, the pressure upon the two rose exponentially. Byrne avoided a set point to tie the first set at 6-6, then went up 6-3 in the seven-point tiebreaker.
"I found out in the middle of the first set that the (team) score was tied," said Huston. "I knew it was all on me so I had to step it up. I wanted to win for the team."
Huston fought back, winning five consecutive points to take the first set.
Byrne threatened to make the first set only a memory by going up 3-1 in the second set. After a brief talk with CU-Colorado Springs coach Matt Hays and a couple of his teammates, Huston, a powerful but erratic player, stopped going for the big hit and did a much better job keeping the ball in play.
"I was trying to play him out," said Huston. "I knew he was nervous - I was nervous too. I had to play for the team win."
Huston battled back to force a second straight tiebreaker, which he won 9-7.
All three of the Mountain Lions' victories have come against Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opponents. Last season, CU-Colorado Springs went 2-7 in the RMAC and 2-12 overall.
"We're working a lot harder in practice this year," said CU-Colorado Springs' No. 2 singles player Eric Rivera. "There's not any goofing around. Last year, we were a joke. We're taking a lot more pride (this season)."
Rivera, who teamed with Sean Voorhies to win 8-0 at No. 1 doubles then took a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Mesa State's Nick O'Rourke in singles, said team leaders have kept the team focused.
"A lot of the top guys are showing some leadership," said Rivera. "Also, a lot of our success has to do with our coach, Matt Hays. He's really pushed us. He's run a really tight ship and our conditioning is much better than last year."
One of those top guys, senior Travis Sellentin, understands the role he's expected to play.
"I'm trying to bring some leadership and motivation," said Sellentin, who's 3-0 in singles and 2-1 in doubles this season.. "We've improved our focus in practice."
The final ingredient to the impressive start this season has been added experience.
"You can't let up at all in college tennis," said Rivera who, like Huston and Sean Voorhies, is plaing his second season as an NCAA Division II player. "You have to stay focused and that's really tough to do. You learn that your first year at this level."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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