Friday’s match between Oregon and Wisconsin had the makings to be something special. With the Pac-12 going up against the Big 10, the pair of power five conference schools are both coming off a second-round appearance in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The Ducks and Badgers delivered.
A back-and forth doubles point, energetic crowd and strong battles in singles contributed one of the more entertaining matches of the young spring season. It was the Ducks, though, that came away with the 5-2 victory to improve to 5-2 in the 2018 campaign.
“I thought the focus was really good starting in warmups,” head coach Nils Schyllander said. “It carried over into doubles … and into singles for the most part.”
Oregon and Wisconsin didn’t waste any time ramping up the intensity, with doubles action not for the faint-hearted. The No. 37 pair of Simon Stevens and Ty Gentry took care of Daniel Soyfer and Jesper Freimuth swiftly with a 6-0 win to give the Ducks the early advantage.
Buckle up, though. As it turned out, this doubles party was just getting started. Immediately following the Stevens/Gentry sweep, what happened from then on was pure chaos.
With the Ducks needing at least one win in the two remaining matches, both games were tied at four. Soon after, both matches were tied at five.
And then — you guessed it — both matches were tied at six.
“It was exciting. I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve seen a lot of exciting ones. But [Friday] is definitely up there,” Schyllander said.
With both matches entering a tiebreaker simultaneously, Soemarno and Roberts had match point, but the Badgers duo of Oscar O’Hoisin and Josef Dodridge rallied for the 7(7) -6 win over the Ducks No. 1 pair.
While O’Hoisin and Dodridge pulled Wisconsin even, the veteran duo of Laurent and Clissold clawed its way back from match point multiple times to come away with the 7-6(6) win to give Oregon the doubles point.
“It was really hard to focus,” said Cormac Clissold. “Honestly, I think that was probably the thing that kept me and Thomas [Laurent] in the match. We were just staying relaxed and just playing our game.”
Before the teams – or fans – could have a chance to catch their breath, singles was underway at the Student Tennis Center.
In its first four home matches, the Ducks outscored their opponents 22-0. The perfect streak, though, came to an end on Friday.
Coming off his win in doubles, O’Hoisin kept it going into singles with a 6-1, 6-3, win over the Ducks’ Riki Oshima to tie the match at one.
Oregon quickly responded. Gentry, playing in the No. 6 spot, gave Oregon the 2-1 advantage with a convincing 6-2, 6-4 win over Freimuth. Clissold put Oregon within one point of the match win after a 6-3, 7-5 over the Badgers’ Chase Colton.
The Ducks didn’t blow the 3-1 lead, capping off the hard fought win with Stevens 7-6, 6-4 victory over Dodridge.
“We’re getting into the meat of the season here, some tough matches,” Clissold said. “It’s important to step up and be more intense.”
The Ducks came together to take down Wisconsin. They’ll be broken up next weekend however, with matches both at the ITA National Indoors in Seattle and in Las Vegas versus San Diego State and UNLV.
Oregon 5, Wisconsin 2
- Oscar O’Hoisin/Josef Dodridge (WIS) def. Armando Soemarno/Charles Roberts (UO) 7(7) – 6
- 17 Thomas Laurent/Cormac Clissold (UO) def. Chema Carranza/Chase Colton (WIS), 7-6(6)
- 37 Simon Stevens/Ty Gentry (UO) def. Daniel Soyfer/Jesper Freimuth (WIS), 6-0
Oregon wins doubles point
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
- Laurent (UO) def. Carranza (WIS), ___*
- Stevens (UO) def. Dodridge (WIS), 7-6, 6-4
- Soyfer (WIS) def. Akihiro Tanaka (UO) 7-5, 4-6, 6-0*
- O’Hoisin (WIS) def. Riki Oshima (UO) 6-1, 6-3
- Clissold (UO) def. Colton (WIS), 6-3, 7-5
- Gentry (UO) def. Freimuth (WIS) 6-2, 6-4
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 5, 2, 3, 1
*outcome of match already determined
Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @ckundich
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